San Juan de la Cruz (John of the Cross) - The Ascent of Mount Carmel, 1922

Page 1


NIHIL OBSTAT EDUARDUS BADGER O.C.D. Censor Deputatus.

IMPRIMI POTEST GULIELMUS PRAEPOSITUS JOHNSON Vicarius Generalis.

WESTMONASTERII DIE 22 FEB.

1906.


THE

ASCENT OF MOUNT CARMEL BY

ST.

JOHN OF THE CROSS. TRANSLATED BY

DAVID LEWIS

WITH CORRECTIONS AND A PREFATORY ESSAY ON

THE DEVELOPMENT OF MYSTICISM IN

THE

CARMELITE ORDER BY

BENEDICT ZIMMERMANN, Prior of

St.

Luke's^

Wincanton, Somerset.

LONDON: THOMAS BAKER. MCMXXII

O.C.D.


5080 115

Impression Second Impression Third Impression Fourth Impression

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Printed in Great Britain by Hazell, Watson

London and Aylesbury.

93044 i* A v

Q 1Q7A

1906 1914 1918 1922

&

Viney, Ld.


IU.

CONTENTS. THE ASCENT OF MOUNT CARMEL. Argument Prologue

BOOK

I.

THE NATURE OF THE DARK NIGHT, THE NECESSITY OF PASSING AND SPECIALLY THE DARK NIGHT OF SENSE AND DESIRE, THROUGH IT IN ORDER TO ATTAIN TO THE DIVINE UNION WITH THE EVILS WHICH THESE INFLICT UPON THE SOUL. J

CHAPTER Two

.9

CHAPTER The

nature and cause of the dark night

The

first

II. .

.

CHAPTER

.

.

,

.11

.

III.

cause of this night, the privation of the desire in

CHAPTER The

I.

kinds of this night, corresponding with the division of the soul into higher and lower

all

things

.

13

IV.

necessity of passing truly through the dark night of sense, which is the mortification of the desire, in order to enter on the road of union

with

God

15

CHAPTER

V.

Proofs from scripture of the necessity Continuation of the same subject. of drawing near unto God through the dark night of mortified 21

desires

CHAPTER l*wo great

evils oi

the desires

:

negative

VI.

and

positive.

Proofs from

27

Scripture i


CONTENTS.

IV.

PAGF

CHAPTER The

desires torment the suul.

VII.

Proofs and illustrations

CHAPTER The

desires darken the soul.

desires pollute the soul.

Proofs and illustrations

.

31

.

.

.

.34

Proofs from Scripture

.

*

,

.38

X.

...........

make

desires

,

IX.

CHAPTER The

.

,

VIII.

CHAPTER The

.

the soul lukewarm, and enfeeble virtue.

illustrations

Proofs and

43

CHAPTER XL The

however

necessity of freedom from all desires,

slight, for the divine

union

45

CHAPTER The

XII.

nature of those desires which suffice to injure the soul

CHAPTER How

.

.

.51

.

.

.

XIII.

the soul enters by faith into the night of sense

CHAPTER

.

60

Explanation of the second line of the stanza

CHAPTER

Explanation of the

last lines

......... BOOK

XV.

CHAPTER ....

THE SECOND NIGHT

I.

stanza

CHAPTER The second

or cause, of this night darker than the first and third part,

CHAPTER Faith, the dark

Scriptures

night of the soul.

6l

II.

PROXIMATE MEANS OF UNION, FAITH. OF THE SPIRIT.

The second

55

XIV.

o

^

...

63

II. faith.

Two

reasons

why

it is

66 III.

Proofs from reason and the Holy ,

.

.

.

67


CONTENTS.

CHAPTER

V

Mat IV.

........

How

the soul must be in darkness, in order to be duly guided by faith to the highest contemplation

71

CHAPTER V. A comparison

76

The union

of the soul with God.

CHAPTER The

VI.

three theological virtues perfect the powers of the soul, and bring state of emptiness and darkness. Proofs from S. Luke

them into a and Isaias

.82

CHAPTER The

of the necessary for those standing straitness

VII.

The detachment and freedom way of life. who walk in it. The detachment of the under

...........86 CHAPTER

No

VIII.

no knowledge, comprehensible by the understanding, can subserve as proximate means of union with God . -93

creature,

.

CHAPTER

.

IX.

the proximate and proportionate means of the understanding by Proofs from which the soul may attain to the divine union of love. the Holy Scriptures

Faith

is

CHAPTER The

divisions of the apprehensions

and

Of

X.

acts of the understanding

CHAPTER

99

.

.

103

XI.

the hurt and hindrance resulting from the apprehensions of the under of the standing supernatu rally produced through the instrumentality the soul is to be guided under such circum outward senses.

How

IO 3

stances

CHAPTER

XII.

Their nature. They cannot apprehensions. be proportionate means of union. The evil results of not knowing how to detach oneself from them in time

Of natural and imaginary

CHAPTER The

XIII.

man that he may know when signs to be observed by the spiritual to withdraw the understanding from imnginary forms and discursive IJ

meditations

CHAPTER The

U*

fitness

of these

spiritual progress

signs. .

The

XIV.

necessity

of

observing

them

for

"I


CONTENTS.

71.

PAGE

CHAPTER OS

XV.

the occasional necessity of meditating, and ex'.'/ j/ig the natural faculties on the part of those who begin to enter on the contempla (

tive state

131

CHAPTER

XVI.

Oi imaginary apprehensions supernaturally represented They cannot be proximate means of union with God

CHAPTER Of

the

to

fancy.

.

.

.

134

XVII.

the ends and ways of God in communicating spiritual blessings to the soul through the senses. Answer to the question proposed . 143 .

CHAPTER How

XVIII.

souls tin injured because their spiritual directors do not guide these visions, though from aright through these visions. become occasions of error

them God,

........ How

CHAPTER

150

XIX.

Visions, revelations, and locutions, though Proofs from Holy Scripture deceive.

CHAPTER

true

and from God, may 156

XX.

Proofs from Scripture that the divine locutions, though always true, are . not always certain in their causes . . . . .166

CHAPTER God

CHAPTER It is

He .

answers them. .

.

.172

XXII.

not lawful, under the new law, as it was under the old, to enquire of God by supernatural ways. This doctrine profitable for the under Proofs from S. Paul 182 . standing of the mysteries of our holy faith.

CHAPTER Of the

XXIII.

purely spiritual apprehensions of the understanding

CHAPTER Of

XXI.

at times displeased with certain prayers, though Illustrations of His anger with such prayers . is

.

.

.195

XXIV.

the two kinds of spiritual visions which

come by the supernatural

way

198

CHAPTER XXV. Of

revelations

:

their nature

and division

CHAPTER Fie knowledge of pure <&e soul therein

truths.

Two

......

204

XXVI.

kinds thereof.

The conduct

of .

20


CONTENTS.

I'Al.E

CHAPTER Of

Vil.

XXVII.

the second kind of revelations, the disclosure of secrets and hidden mysteries. they may subserve and hinder the divine union. Of the many delusions of the devil incident to them . . . .216

How

CHAPTER Of

the interior locations which

XXVIII.

occur supernalurally.

Their different

kinds

220

CHAPTER XXIX. Of

the first kind of words formed by the mind self-recollected. The advantages and disadvantages of them causes of them.

The 221

.

.

CHAPTER XXX. Of interior words formally wrought in incident thereto

;

a supernatural way.

Of the dangers

and a necessary caution against delusions

.

229

.

CHAPTER XXXI. Of

the interior substantial locutions : the difference between them and The profitableness of them. The resignation and the formal. reverence of the soul in respect of them 233

Of

intellectual

CHAPTER

XXXII.

apprehensions resulting from the interior impressions The sources "of them. The conduct to be supernaturally effected. observed by the soul so that these apprehensions shall not hinder it on the way of union 235 .

BOOK

III.

THE PURGATION AND ACTIVE NIGHT OF THE MEMORY AND THE WILL.

CHAPTER

I.

natural apprehensions of the memory which is to be emptied of them, that the soul, according to that faculty, may be united with God. 241

Of the

:

CHAPTER Three kinds of evils to which the soul with respect to the knowledge and planation of the

is

when not

reflections of the

in darkness

memory.

;

Ex

first

250

CHAPTER Of

II.

liable

III.

....

...

the second evil, coming from the evil spirit through the natural ap prehensions of the memory

253


CONTENTS.

Vlll.

VMM

CHAPTER Of

IV.

the third evil, proceeding from the distinct natural

knowledge of the

memory

255

CHAPTER The

V.

profitableness of forgetfulness and emptiness, with regard to thoughts and knowledge, which naturally occur to the memory

CHAPTER Of

the second kind of apprehensions

:

259

VII.

upon.

the second evil

:

VIII.

the danger of self-conceit and presumption

CHAPTER Of

.

VI.

CHAPTER Of

256

on the soul by the knowledge of supernatural things Their number 260

evils inflicted if reflected

.

the imaginary and supernatural

CHAPTER The

all

.

.

263

IX.

the third evil the work of the devil through the imaginary appre hensions of the memory :

CHAPTER

265

X.

.......

Of

the fourth evil of the distinct supernatural apprehensions of memory : the impediment to union

the

267

CHAPTER XL Of

the fifth evil, resulting from the imaginary supernatural apprehen sions : low and unseemly views of God

CHAPTER The

....

spiritual

knowledge as

it

relates to the

CHAPTER General directions the

for the

memory XIV.

man

in

relation to

278

XV.

the obscure night of the will. Proofs from Psalms. Division of the affections of the will

the

277

memory

CHAPTER Of

first

270

XIII.

guidance of the spiritual

CHAPTER Of

XII.

benefits of withdrawing the soul from the apprehensions of the Answer to an objection. The difference between the imagination. natural and supernatural imaginary apprehensions

CHAPTER Of

267

affection of the will.

What

Deuteronomy and the 281

XVI.

jay

is.

Its divers sources

.

284


n

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER Of joy

in

How

temporal goods.

it is

Of the

evils resulting

XVIII.

benefits resulting from

is

How

evils of the will's rejoicing in natural

XXI. goods

.

.

.

..,..

befall the soul

when the

307

XXIII.

CHAPTER which

302

XXII.

benefits of not rejoicing in natural goods

evils

297

to direct the will to

the third kind, sensible goods. Their nature and varieties. regulation of the will with respect to them

The

.

300

CHAPTER Of

290

XX.

vanity.

CHAPTER The

286

,

therein

CHAPTER The

,

withdrawing our joy from temporal things

of the will in natural goods

God

,

XIX.

CHAPTER The joy

.

.....

from joy in temporal goods

CHAPTER The

PACK XVII.

be directed

to

CHAPTER

,

The 310

XXIV. will

has joy in sensible goods

.

313

CHAPTER XXV. The

spiritual

and temporal benefits of

self-denial in the joy in sensible

316

things

CHAPTER The

fourth kind of goods rejoice in

them

moral goods.

:

.

.

.

CHAPTER Seven

evils to

which men are

.

How .

the will

benefits of repressing all joy in

may

.

.

lawfully .

.

.

320

XXVII.

liable if the will rejoices in

CHAPTER The

XXVI.

moral goods

.

324

XXVIII.

moral goods

329

CHAPTER XXIX. The

the supernatural. fifth kind of goods, in which the will has joy Their nature, and the difference between them and spiritual goods. How joy in them is to be directed unto God 331

The

evils resulting

:

.....

CHAPTER XXX. from the

will's rejoicing in this

kind of goods

.

.

334

.

.

340

CHAPTER XXXI. The

benefits of self-denial in the joy of supernatural graces

,


CONTENTS.

x.

CHAPTER The

sixth kind of goods in first division of them

which the

spiritual

memory.

Their nature.

The .

CHAPTER Of the

XXXII.

will rejoices.

34^

XXXIII.

goods distinctly cognisable by the understanding and the

The conduct

of the will with respect to joy in

them

.

343

.

CHAPTER XXXIV. Of

the sweet spiritual goods which distinctly affect the will.

Their

diversities

344

CHAPTER XXXV. The

The ignorance

subject continued.

of some people in the matter of

images

349

CHAPTER XXXVI. How

the joy of the will in sacred images is to be referred to God, so that there shali be no hindrance in it, or occasions of error . . . 352

CHAPTER Motive goods continued.

CHAPTER The

XXXVII.

Oratories and places of prayer

.

,

.

354

XXXVIII.

How

right use of churches and oratories. through them unto God

the soul

is

to

be directed 35?

CHAPTER XXXIX. Continuation of the same subject

.

.

CHAPTER

360

XL.

evils to which men are liable who indulge in the sensible sweet ness which results from objects and places of devotion . . .361

Of some

CHAPTER Of

CHAPTER Of

XLI.

How

the three kinds of devotional places. itself in the matter

other motives to prayer adopted by

JIow the joy and strength of the

will is to

CHAPTER Of the second kind

to regulate

is

363

XLII.

many

CHAPTER

the will

namely,

;

many ceremonies

.

.

366

XLIII. be directed in these devotions 368

XLIV.

of distinct goods in which the will vainly rejoices

Index of places in Holy Ssripture Index of matter

.

.

372 377

.

.

.

.

.

3^5


THE

DEVELOPMENT OF MYSTICISM THE

IN

CARMELITE ORDER. I

The Carmelite Order active

under

S.

II. Becomes originally contemplative. III. Reaction after his death.

Simon Stock.

IV.

Carmelite

mystics.

VI.

Reforms.

VII.

V.

S.

Friar

Teresa.

William VIII.

Sothfeld.

Her Reform.

IX. S. John of the Cross. X. Opposition. XI. Imprison ment. XII. His works. XIII. Their relation to those of S. Teresa. XIV. Could S. John have known S. Teresa's

XV. Allusions and quotations. XVI. The 'Ascent Mount Carmel'. XVII. S. John of the Cross and

works? of

Spiritualism.

XVIII.

Is

S.

John's system

practical?

XIX. Answer. XX. Carmelite mystics of the 17th XXI. Translations and editions of the Ascent

century.

'

'.

THE

Carmelite Order was originally devoted to a purely contemplative life. Its members lived as hermits I.

on Mount Carmel, striving to imitate the holy prophets Elias and Eliseus. According to their Rule which, given about A.D. 1210, records the customs observed by these hermits since they became a body corporate their time in or near their cells, meditating

they spent

on the law of

the Lord day and night, repairing only once a day to the oratory to hear mass. They said their office or their Paters privately, and took their more than frugal meals in solitude. James de Vitry thus speaks of these hermits ' Others, following the example of Elias, that holy ancho :

and great prophet, embraced the eremitical life on Mount Carmel, chiefly on the part overlooking the town

rite

of Porphyry,

now calle-d

Caiffa, near the fountain of Elias,


THE DEVELOPMENT OF MYSTICISM

2

not far from

There

the monastery of

S.

Margaret, Virgin. made a

living in small cells, like bee-hives, they

sweet spiritual honey ( x ) '. This peaceful life was rudely interrupted by the inroads of the Saracens. For a time they did not interfere much

with the harmless hermits, probably through respect for S. Elias, whom they held in veneration and awe. But

moment came when

the

in

the

was no longer safe to live, Holy Land, and small bands of it

unprotected, hermits took ship and migrated westward.

Some found a home in Cyprus, and built a convent in a desert place, called Fortani. Others proceeded as far as Sicily, settling not far from Messina. Others again reached the mainland and chose a place called Aygalades, some miles from Marseilles ; a fourth colony ventured as far as

This

Valenciennes where they were given some territory. migration took place in A.D. 1238. Three years

first

later a

second colony

England.

They

left

arrived

the holy mountain, bound for towards Christmas and with

the consent of the king established not less than four foundations near Bradmer on the coast of Norfolk near :

Newenden on

;

the Kentish coast

three miles from Alnwick village of Aylesford

Hulne are

;

on the

;

in the forest of Hulne,

and a mile or so outside the river

Medway.

The

ruins of

good preservation, while Aylesford is almost Part of the building is of a more recent date, but intact. a considerable portion of the original convent is still in

Here, too, every hermit had a small house of his own, though they were all under the same roof. The doors opened on a quadrangle, the chapel occupied in extant.

same place where in A.D. 1355 the No arrangement present dwelling-house was erected. all

probability the

seems to have been made

for a

(*) Hist. Or.

common

c. 53.

refectory, the


IN

THE CARMELITE ORDER.

3

old rule of solitary meals still obtaining. For the Car melites continued to be hermits and were thus styled in pontifical bulls ranging from 1226 to 1247. II.

In the last-named year was held the first General what might be termed the Constituent assembly,

chapter,

under the presidency of S. Simon Stock. Little as is known of him one thing is certain he was intensely :

Among other things he obtained permission from the Holy See to make foundations not only in desert practical.

places but in villages and towns, and thus abandoned the From this time the Carmelites strictly eremitical life.

were numbered among the Mendicants having previously been forbidden the acquisition of landed property and entered upon the active

Contemplation

Not

altogether, for every

tends that way, but

minent place

life.

it

that they renounced form of religious life

no longer occupied the most pro Foundations were made in

in their lives.

university towns,

Cambridge

(1249),

Oxford (1253), Paris

in large centres like London Bologne (1260) York (1255), Cologne (1256), &c.; the Divine office was sung in choir, the meals were partaken of in common, and various mitigations brought the Rule within the requirements of Western countries and less fortunate

(1259),

;

(1251),

In university climates than that of the Holy Land. towns the friars pursued chiefly scholastic work, elsewhere

they devoted themselves to the exercise of the sacred ministry as far as they obtained the licence from the bishops. III.

A

reaction set in after the death of S.

Simon Stock

(1265). His successor, Nicholas Gallicus, was undoubtedly one of those who had received their religious training on

Mount Carmel, and who were by no means active work.

in favour of

He resigned his office of General in A.D. 1270,

and withdrew

to

a hermitage

on

'

Mount

Erratroff,'


THE DEVELOPMENT OF MYSTICISM

4

the situation of which

is

not

known with

precision

;

it

appears to have been somewhere in the South of France. From that place he wrote a circular letter, entitled Ignea

which he sharply inveighed against the aban

sagitta, in

donment of the contemplative in favour of the. active life. He died at Orange in the odour of sanctity his feast was for a time observed in some provinces of the Order on the 2nd of April. Nicholas had for a successor in the generalship Radulph Alemannicus, also one of the old hermits of Mount Carmel. He, too, resigned after a short time and retired to Hulne to prepare himself by contemplation for death, which occurred on 18 December, 1277. Meanwhile the ;

Order, having been formally acknowledged by the second (A.D. 1274), developed rapidly and in of ministerial work. sphere IV. As already stated, every form of religious life con tains the contemplative element. It is therefore not

council of

creased

Lyons

its

surprising that we find evidence of it at almost every turn. Some of the convents were so situated that there was

hardly room for the exercise of the sacred ministry, *.//., Hulne in Northumberland. It is nevertheless true that the Carmelites never founded a school of Mysticism, as All those who lectured on did, e.g., the Dominicans.

number was very large were bound to most of the questions concerning mystical theology, for in the middle ages theology was more ency clopedic than it is now. We also find a number of Car melites who composed works on this subject. To mention only a few, and these at random, Arnestus de Saxonia, Divinity

their

deal with

who took

his degree at Paris in the beginning of the four

teenth century, was so much given to the contemplative life that he spent all his spare time in prayer and medi tation. Johannes de Marchinellis, of Liege (ca. 1410), is


IN

known

THE CARMELITE ORDER.

to have written a

work

'

5

On

the spiritual combat '. 1420) wrote on the Gifts of

Nicholas Dinckelspoele (ca. the Holy Ghost, the Lord's prayer, and similar subjects Johannes Sonneman, of Cassel (ca. 1460), composed a :

*

work

On

'

the preparation of the heart '. Blessed Albertus de Monte Calerio (+ 1515) founded a convent in the mountains of Lombardy, where he gave himself to '

prayer and fasting and wrought many miracles. V. This list could be continued indefinitely, but the reader will probably prefer to learn some particulars about a saintly English Carmelite. "At that time," writes Bale ( x )

"there lived in the convent at Norwich a

and renowned

where

man

dear to

God

William Sothfeld, born some had been received in the Carmelite

for sanctity,

in Norfolk.

He

convent in his tender youth, and having become priest in due course, dedicated his whole life to meditating on the law of the Lord and carrying out the sacred rites. He

was a simple-minded man, endowed with ineffable devo tion for he surpassed even those who had a reputation of piety he omitted nothing that could improve his manner of life, so that, both before and after death, he wrought many miracles. This venerable man was of cheerful countenance, pleasant demeanour, sweet and polite speech, however common his garments were. He put his whole trust in God, was full of holy desires for the welfare of the Order, and had a tender devotion towards the Blessed ;

;

Virgin.

It

is

asserted that he said the Hail

Mary a

thousand times a day not content with this he seemed to have this prayer ever on his lips and never to grow ;

satiated with

it. Keeping a strict fast, given wholly to most punctual in the performance of his duties, of prayer, solid virtue, he had many a wonderful vision. Frequently the Mother of God spoke to him and showed him so much (i)

MS.

Harley, 3838, Fol. 3 4 b.


THE DEVELOPMENT OF MYSTICISM familiarity that the brothers, peeping through the chinks

saw and heard them sometimes saying the Hours together. He well knew how to practise humility of heart and bodily austerities. The story goes that he extinguished a fire threatening to consume the convent by waving his scapular. Besides this he did many wonder of his door,

ful

signs too long for enumeration.

This holy

man

died

Norwich on 26th August, 1414, and was buried by common consent in a distinguished place, the tomb being at

covered by a beautiful marble slab.

The body

is

said to

have remained long incorrupt." VI. Early in the fifteenth century, when the schism

which had divided the Carmelite Order as well as the Church, was happily ended, the Rule was mitigated by

was found more correct to have an an austere one which scarcely could observe. There were, however, some who anybody preferred the old rule and even wished to add to its rigour. Papal authority.

It

easier rule well kept than

Notwithstanding much opposition on the part of the heads of the Order, they succeeded in establishing a Reform which soon became known as the Congregation of Mantua, from the convent which formed the centre of

the movement.

To

check this and similar separatist tendencies the General, Blessed John Soreth (A.D. 14511471) laboured strenuously for the reform of the Order. He not only strove to extirpate every kind of abuse and to revive the zeal of the friars, but selected

some houses

each province where the entire rigour of the Rule should be observed and the religious life be fashioned on

in

the strictest lines. Thus, without causing further divisions, and without laying undue burdens on those who were

was resume the contem

either unwilling or unable to bear them, provision

made

for those

plative

life.

who were anxious

to

Soreth also incorporated in the Order a


THE CARMELITE ORDER.

IN

7

community of Beguines, and thus became the founder of the Carmelite nuns. After his death

1 t

)

the Reform of

Mantua grew very France where it became

strong and was introduced into as the congregation of Albi.

known

Among

its

chief

promoters were two Scotchmen, William MacGregor and William Wyle. Further Reforms were attempted in the provinces of

Genoa and

Portugal.

Though

in

many

respects differing from each other, all these offshoots of the Carmelite Order agreed in this that they limited as far

as possible the external activity of the friars and Thus the gulf between the life.

accentuated the interior '

'

'

and the contemplative fractions of the Order became wider and wider. We have already mentioned that although the Carmel ites could muster a large number of writers on Mystical theology, they had produced so far no epoch-making author to be compared with, say, the Cistercian Bernard de Clairvaux, the Franciscan Bonaventure, the Dominican Henry Suso, or with Thomas a Kempis. They were destined, in the sixteenth century, to give to the Church active

two Saints who saints

named

'

if it

is

lawful to

compare

saints with

they did not surpass, any of those just equalled, Teresa of : Jesus and John of the Cross. if

off the Moorish yoke, of youthful vigour, mental as enjoyment Here Teresa of Jesus was born in well as physical.

VII. Spain, having just shaken

was

in the full

2 1515 and took her vows in the convent of Avila in!536( ).

Having resumed with redoubled zeal the exercise of mental prayer after a period of lukewarmness occasioned and over again, on the strength of a mis (*) It has been asserted over understood passage of his biographer, that Soreth was poisoned by some discontented friars. The calumny is without the slightest foundation and can easily be disproved. translated by David Lewis. (2) For this date see Life of S. Teresa, London, Thomas Baker, 1904. P. xiii.


8

THE DEVELOPMENT OF MYSTICISM

by serious

illness,

strange effects of

Saint Teresa soon began to experience life. She fell, unfor

her renewed inward

tunately, into the hands of certain amateur directors with

knowledge and no discernment of spirits, who thoroughly frightened her and made her believe, against little

her

own sound judgement, that she was deluded by evil With such a record against her even her con

spirits.

mostly Jesuits and Dominicans, found it hard to convince themselves, Teresa and the busy-bodies of Avila, that on the contrary she was being led by the Spirit of fessors,

God

paths of perfection. She has told the story of her sufferings and of the mercies of God in her admirable Life, as well as in the Way of Perfection, and the in the highest

Interior Castle.

In fact

and many of her

her writings, even her poems deal with this subject. In her

all

letters,

she held firm to some leading principles that so namely long as she did not wilfully swerve from the teaching of the Church, she could not be misled by perplexities

:

So long as she was perfectly frank with her confessors, making known to them all her experiences, God was bound to give them at least the light to guide her. That she was bidden to render strict obedience to the living voice of the Church, her superiors and directors, rather than to what she might think was the voice of God the devil.

Himself, but which, even if it came to her in prayer, might after all be nothing but an illusion or a deception. And finally that in the present life we must walk in Faith,

while clear knowledge is reserved for the next. With these guiding axioms she was able to steer safely between the cliffs and shoals which imperilled her journey. Partly for her own satisfaction, partly for the benefit of others, she subjected the workings of her soul to a most

searching analysis, and as she was not learned, either in divinity or in philosophical matters, she never failed to


IN

THE CARMELITE ORDER.

9

apply to the most renowned theologians for enlighten ment.

VIII. One of the results of her great fervour was the foundation of a small convent where she, together with some kindred souls, might serve God in strict enclosure

and the observance of the ancient Rule of Carmel as approved by Pope Innocent IV.

In other terms, she once throw herself entirely into a life of pure contemplation. The General, on the occasion of a canonical visit, not only approved of what she had done, but gave her leave to found also two convents

more

set aside the active life to

of Reformed friars

;

for S.

Teresa

felt

rightly that so long

as there were no houses of Discalced friars

Discalced

was in the sixteenth century equivalent to Reformed friar no stability, no firm guidance could be expected for the Reformed nuns. At this juncture she first met S. John of the Cross. IX. John de Yepes was born of poor parents at Hontiveros in Old Castille ,on 24th June, 1542 ( 1 ). At the age of twenty-one he entered the Carmelite Order, a ud from friar

the beginning chose for himself the highest line of per fection, discarding mitigations, and keeping the Rule in

After profession he completed his studies at Salamanca and was ordained priest in 1567. But, shrink

its

entirety.

ing from the responsibilities of the priesthood, he resolved to pass over to the Carthusian Order a step open to

almost any Religious, and frequently taken when he was Armed as she was with authority

introduced to S. Teresa.

from the General to establish two houses of reformed friars,

she was most anxious to find someone to

beginning. as S. John

make a

She at once felt that Fray Juan de San Matia, was then called, was the instrument chosen by

(!) See the excellent Life of London, Thomas Baker, 1888.

S.

John

of the Cross,

by David Lewis. c


THE DEVELOPMENT OF MYSTICISM

10

God

Two

such an undertaking.

other friars having declared their willingness to join him, and a house, or rather a hovel, having been offered, the foundation of for

the Discalced Carmelite friars became an accomplished fact within a year of the first meeting of S. Teresa with

She was not long

S. John.

new Order, and found that

in visiting the cradle of the

in poverty, austerity

and fervour

surpassed anything she had ever witnessed. With a view to rendering S. John acquainted with the customs it

and observances of the nuns, S. Teresa took him to Valladolid, where she was founding a convent. X. The Reform of the fi;iars spread rapidly, in fact too much so, to work smoothly. The general chapters had done everything to encourage the reform of existing houses and the foundation of new ones with strict observance, and to facilitate the passage of friars from the unreformed to the reformed convents. On the other hand the Superiors naturally resented the loss, not of the use less and troublesome, but of the most useful and fervent

Moreover, the establishment of new houses 1 a within numerically weak province ( ) was bound to lead to unpleasant rivalries. The Apostolic Nuncio, too, over subjects.

ruled in

General.

several

points the restrictions

made by

the

Thus, a storm was preparing, and it burst over the Reform, threatening to from the face of the earth. The general chapter at the death

of the Nuncio

sweep

it

(1575) decided

more

upon

readily as

fruitful

in

suppression, and this the

the previous

troubles,

Order had weakened

and so

far

Reforms had

also

been

from strengthening the

it.

was at that time at Avila. He some time the position of master of

John of the Cross

S.

had occupied '

(!)

its total

Seeing

seemed

to

me

how to

for

very few friars there were in the province, for they be dying out.' (S. Teresa, Bk. of Foundations, ch. ii. 5.)


THE CARMELITE ORDER.

IN novices,

and

filled

other important

offices.

11

When S.Teresa

became

prioress of the convent of the Incarnation she caused him to be appointed confessor to the nuns. The result of his direction

The

wonderful.

on the numerous community was

sisters

spontaneously relinquished the

which they had been accustomed, and vied with each other in fervour and zeal. Many of them relaxations to

reached a high degree of spirituality. With the exception of a short interruption S. John remained at his post for nearly six years, from the beginning of 1572 to the end of 1577, when he was suddenly taken prisoner by the Calced

Carmelites and hurried off to Toledo, where he was treated All the convents founded in

as one guilty of rebellion.

Spain without the sanction of the General were to be closed.

S. John, as well as the other friars of the

had been bidden to return

to the houses to

Reform, which they

but as he held his post of confessor to the Incarnation on the authority of the Nuncio he paid

originally belonged

;

no heed to the ruling of the provincial, and was therefore considered a rebel. Throughout the painful history of the Reform nearly all the mischief resulted from the existence of two different authorities, at variance with

each other.

XL

S.

John was cast

into prison at

went most cruel treatment

for

Toledo and under

more than

eight months.

During all this time he lived in a narrow, stifling cell, with no window but only a small loophole through which a ray of light entered for a short time of the day. There is an allusion to

it

in the 'Ascent. X 1 )

Reading and writing

but impossible. Instead of this he spent his time in uninterrupted prayer. He also composed here

were of course

some

of his

Canticle.

all

most exquisite

The

verses, notably the Spiritual

explanation of this wonderful piece of (i)

Seebk. II.,ch. xiv.,8.


THE DEVELOPMENT OF MYSTICISM

12

many years later, gives us an insight into the workings of his soul during this trying time. At length he made good his escape in a manner that

poetry, written

can only be termed miraculous. It furnished the theme of the verses forming the argument of both the ' Ascent '

and the

'

Obscure Night.' In a dark night, With anxious love inflamed,

O happy

lot !

Forth unobserved I went,

My

house being

now at

In darkness and

By

rest.

in safety

',

a secret ladder disguised.

O happy lot! In darkness and concealment.

My house The imprisonment

being now at

of S. John

rest, etc.

marked the climax of the

opposition of the Friars of the old Observance against the Discalced Carmelites. Shortly afterwards the latter con stituted themselves as a special province of the Order, and, after the death of S. Teresa and S. John of the Cross, who perhaps would have demurred, they separated themselves entirely from the old stock and became an For our present purpose it only independent Order. remains to add that if S. John's perpetual prayer was to '

and be despised,' he was heard, for the treatment he received at the hands of the provincial of the Discalced Carmelites, Fr. Nicholas Doria, was hardly less severe than what he experienced in prison at Toledo, and had suffer

not even the excuse of a technical fault on his part. exchanged the cross for a heavenly crown on 14th

He De

cember, 1591. XII. S. John of the Cross wrote a number of works, namely, the 'Ascent of Mount Carmel' and the 'Obscure


IN

THE CARMELITE ORDER.

Night of the Soul,' '

Spiritual Canticle,'

Maxims,

Instructions,

Poems.

book It

We

1 (

)

entitled

'

we

Living Flame of Love,' possess a certain number of '

Letters,

and

a

collection

of

are here chiefly concerned with the of Mount Carmel.'

The Ascent

has been recorded

2 (

)

that during his studies he

this is amply borne out was not what one would term John

particularly relished psychology his writings.

by

an explanation of the

;

and of the

Besides these

in 1584.

1578

in

13

S.

;

He

was, however, intimately acquainted with the Sumnia of S. Thomas Aquinas, as almost every page a scholar.

of his works prove.

Holy Scripture he seems to have known by heart, yet he evidently obtained his knowledge more by meditation than in the lecture room. Many of his quotations and applications appear to us far fetched, or at least, allegorical in the extreme. He does not seem

have ever applied himself to the study of the Fathers. twice quotes the Soliloquies of S. Augustine, ( 3 ) once a

to

He

sermon by the same, and another by

S. Gregory. (*)

In

the Prologue to the 'Ascent' he says that he does not trust to knowledge but only to the Scriptures; but we

think that, had he had an extensive acquaintance with the writings of S. Augustine, it would infallibly have

betrayed

itself.

The

fact

that

he shows no trace of

influence of the great mystics of the middle age of S. Victor, S. Bernard, S. Bonaventure, &c. justify the inference that

Hugh would

he had not studied their works.

Poesias. Colleccion formada por el P. Angel (*) San Juan de la Cruz. Besides the well-known poetical Maria de S. Teresa. Burgos, 1904, works of the Saint, this collection contains a number of poems recently discovered. Mention may be made here of the new and elegant trans lation of the Spiritual Canticle, by a Cistercian Oblate (Miss Annie Monteith), Market Weightor., Yorkshire (without date). 2

See Life of

S. John of the Cross, p. 24. Or, to speak more correctly, a compilation of the i3th century attributed to S. Augustine. (*) Which he must have known from the Breviary, where it occurs on (

)

3

(

)

Low

Sunday.


THE DEVELOPMENT OF MYSTICISM

14

XIII. There is, however, one mystical author with whose writings he was thoroughly familiar: S. Teresa. During the two years they both lived at the Incarnation at Avila he was her confessor and director. The letters she wrote during the next few years were unfortunately destroyed at the outbreak of the persecution, but as S.

Teresa returned to Avila (though not to the convent of the Incarnation) in July, 1577, the two Saints had plenty of opportunity to see each other before S. John was im prisoned.

Hence

it

follows that S.

John cannot but have

been

fully conversant with S. Teresa's experiences and her interpretation of them, while she must have been well

We

versed in S. John's teaching.

are, therefore, pre

pared to expect complete identity of doctrine in their But it can also be proved that S. John, several works. when writing the Ascent and the Obscure Night,' had '

'

'

'

read the three principal works of Teresa, her Life,' the Way of Perfection,' and the Interior Castle.' That he '

'

knew them

later

on

is

clear from

a passage

in

the

1

Spiritual Canticle,' ( ) where he explicitly refers to them and expresses the hope that they would soon be published, as, in fact, they were about three years later. '

XIV.

S.

Teresa completed her

'

Life

'

about the middle

of 1565, and though the original manuscript eventually found its way into the archives of the Inquisition, several copies were circulating among her friends, and sometimes among her enemies. She was particularly anxious that her confessors should know her well and wished them to

She can have made no exception with

read her work. S.

John of the Cross. The first version of the

'

Way

of Perfection

'

dates from

1566 and the following year, and this book, too, soon became public property, even more so than the Life.' '

(*)

Spiritual Canticle, stanza XIII.


THE CARMELITE ORDER.

IN

The

'

Interior Castle,'

begun

Toledo

at

15

summer

in the

of

1577 was completed at Avila at the end of November, only four days before S. John was taken prisoner. He may, therefore, not have seen the concluding chapters, but he certainly knew the earlier parts, for he distinctly refers to

work ( 1 ) first combat this

" If the soul shall overcome the devil in the it shall then pass on to the second; and if it

:

shall

be victorious there

third

;

also,

shall then pass

it

and then through the

on to the

seven Mansions, the seven

degrees of love, until the Bridegroom shall bring " cellar of wine " of perfect charity.'

it

to the

XV. There, are, moreover, some unmistakeable allusions Thus, her favorite parable 2 and the Well Water appears twice in the *Ascent.'( ) There is also the comparison with the fruit of the 3 palmito ( ) references to S. Teresa's period of lukewarmto various parts of her writings.

of the

;

4

ness

(

)

;

when God

to her inability to pray

hearing her

5

( )

sometimes experi

to the difficulty she

;

did not intend

enced in making known to her confessors the revelations, 6 visions, and other favours she had received; ( ) to the '

Locution

'

Our Lord

of

' :

Be not

afraid,

it

is

I,'

which

7 so wonderfully consoled her in sore distress ;( ) and to the help she found in the recollection of His word Peace be '

with you.'( 8 ) Again we find a distinct allusion in the 9 'Ascent' to a passage occurring in one of the Relations.( )

need scarcely be said that

It

'

3

'

)

(

n. Interior Castle,' v. Mansion, ch. ii., See Life of S. Teresa,' ch. xi., sqq. xxx., Mansion, ch. ii., 3. iv. Mansion, ch. ii., 3, '

173.

;

i.

Interior Castle,'

5

)

Infra, p. 246. P. 194. Cf.

)

P. 233.

)

6 (

7 (

vi.

Mansion, 8

(

)

9 (

)

'

8.

ii.;

Life,' ch. vii.,

23. 4, 8.

Infra, p. 123.

n.

Cf. 'Life,' ch. xxxix., '

Life," ch. xxiii., 19. 22. Rel. Life,' ch. xxv.,

Cf. ' ch. iii.,

Infra, p. 253, Infra, p. 280.

Mansion, ch.

i.

Cf.

(*) Infra, p. 143. (

cannot be mere

'

See

(!) Infra, p. 109. 2

( ) Infra, p. 123 Interior Castle,'

this

all

8-10.

vii.,

'

22.

Interior Castle,

8.

'Interior Castle,' v. Mansion, ch.

Relation

v.

5.

i.,

10

et

passim.

1


THE DEVELOPMENT OF MYSTICISM

16

coincidence, but

is

a clear proof that S. John knew S.

Teresa's writings.

The tics

question

how far the two great mys To our mind there is no real

be asked

may

agreed with each other.

difference in their teaching,

beyond the

fact that S.

starts with the record of her experiences

Teresa

and proceeds to

analyse them, with the help of the general principles already enumerated while S. John first establishes the ;

principles

own

or that of others, as illustrations.

surprise S.

and uses the personal experience, whether

no one that he

Teresa about the

notably certain

'

is

his

It will, therefore,

not quite so enthusiastic as some of the phenomena,

effects of

Locutions.'

Teresa knew well what she

had gained thereby, while S. John, from the standpoint of the philosopher, passes his verdict on the general aspect of the question.

XVI.

When

S.

John undertook

to write

on Mystical

and directors, he him a book mentioned by S. Teresa probably had before Subida del Monte Sion, the Ascent of Mount Sion^ 1 ) He naturally entitled his 'Ascent of Mount Carmel' as he theology for the benefit of confessors

:

intended to address himself chiefly to the members of his Order. He took for his argument the poem on his

own

escape from prison, to which the escape of the soul from the bonds of the senses and of earthly affections forms the counterpart. But he carried the allegory only as far as the beginning of the second verse, and, after the first

chapter of the second book, dropped it altogether. He first intended to complete his work in four books, but for some reason that has not reached us he not even finished the third book, breaking off in the middle of the treatise on the sources of joy in the Will. His second work, the '

Obscure Night,' J (

'

)

too,

is

left

unfinished, though to

Life of S. Teresa,' ch.

xxiii.,

13.

some


THE CARMELITE ORDER.

IN extent the

two books supplement each

other.

17

The 'Ascent

'

deals with the active purgation of the senses, the intellect

and the

will,

that

is

with the need

for,

and the manner

of,

the complete mortification of these, as far as under the The grace of God it depends on the power of man. '

Obscure Night

same

faculties,

which

steps in

The key

to

'

treats of the passive purgation of the

brought about by Divine intervention where human endeavours fail. the whole treatise will be found in the

seventh chapter of the second book of the 'Ascent.' As has already been stated the whole work is based upon the view S. Thomas Aquinas takes of the essence and operations of the senses and of the faculties of the soul, and upon his P. 46 and again pp. 52-54 give in treatise on the virtues.

a nutshell the teaching of the great leader of scholastic

philosophy and theology. Having fully mastered these important branches of knowledge, S. John had a great

advantage over S. Teresa, who at every step was con fronted with problems the solution of which she had to seek from her friends, especially those of the Dominican Order. The trained mind of S. John ensured also a more

methodical treatment of his subject instead of the frequent

and sometimes tedious interruptions so prominent

in S.

On

the other hand, the absence of the in his element writings deprives S. John of much personal of the charm whereby S. Teresa has become one of the Teresa's style.

most popular writers on

spiritual subjects.

Only once he

discovers his personal feelings, namely with regard to good 1 taste in the art of painting^ )

XVII. Some readers may ask themselves whether

S.

not dealing with subjects that have John lost all practical importance ? True, we now-a-days hear but little of mystical phenomena. The study of these of the Cross

is

(i)

Infra, p. 345


THE DEVELOPMENT OF MYSTICISM

18

matters is, of course, always necessary, but should it not be reserved to specialists ? venture to think that the he establishes with such force and clearness principles

We

may even

who are not engaged in the direc who do not aspire to the highest walks

assist those

tion of souls, or

of Christian perfection. For are there not such things, even at the present time, and now, perhaps, more than ever,

as

spiritualistic

phenomena,

visions,

revelations,

communications, &c., and do not the principles laid down in the 16th century form a sound basis for the discern

ment of spirits, and the distinction between what is good and wholesome, and what is evil and deleterious ? ( 1 ) XVIII. Of far greater importance than to the students of psychical phenomena is S. John of the Cross to those whose earnest endeavour it is to reach the height of per life. Man is created for God, and become like Him. He must be stripped, not only of what is contrary to God, but even of what is not

fection in the present

is

called to

conducive to the attainment of that high destiny.

This

constitutes the essence of contemplation, not visions

No

and

force than S.

down with greater the canons whereby contemplatives John

must regulate

their conduct

revelations.

writer has ever laid

a lasting value, and

it

is

:

his works, therefore,

a real consolation to

have

know

that even in our materialistic age there are numerous Inexorable as he is, souls ready to follow his guidance.

he only carries to the last consequences the firm rule of If any man come after Me let him deny the Master :

2

But, perhaps, they may ask themselves whether the carrying out of S. John's axioms would not seriously interfere with their several positions in life ? himself.

(

)

His principles are clear and unimpeachable, as everyone (*).

in

Infra, p. 182, sqq. 223.

Mr W. R. Inge (Christian Mysticism, p. 223) is hardly consistent passing a harsh judgement on S. John of the Cross 2

(

)


IN

THE CARMELITE ORDER.

19

must acknowledge who takes the trouble of examining them. They flow directly from the most elementary notions.

But are they

practical

?

S.

John himself

felt

the weight of this question, for he puts it himself, but his answer will probably convince but few of his readers^ 1 ) If

must mortify, not alone my unruly passions and my senses, but even all the powers of the intellect, the me I

To will, how shall I fulfil my duties in life ? God will supernaturally rouse my memory at the proper moment is hardly in agreement with the purpose for which it has been given me. To neglect the natural mory, the say that

use and trust in miracles

is

nothing but presumption.

XIX. The

true answer is that Christian perfection pre the fulfilment of all our duties, without which supposes the cardinal virtue of justice is not even conceivable.

This fulfilment of duty must

itself

be perfect, and to be so

requires the co-operation of all our faculties, physical as well as mental, according to the nature of the duties in it

question. S.

Teresa

John of the Cross himself not to mention a splendid example of a Christian who his energy and power at the disposal of his S.

is

placed all Master. The mortification of the faculties in his case consisted probably in this that he did not allow them to go beyond the narrow path of the line of duty. While writing his mystical works, no doubt many a brilliant idea

occurred to him, yet he sacrificed a more spirited style in order to keep strictly within the lines traced for him. Now and then, however, God may have

may have

This, we when speaking of conceive, would meaning the mortification of the memory, and the rest of his remarks must be interpreted in a similar manner. From

brought some happy comparison to his mind. exemplify his

this

it

will

be seen that his teaching, once again, (*) Infra, p. 244,

248-249,

is

most


THE DEVELOPMENT OF MYSTICISM

20

reasonable, for the before him, and to squander

it

man who

little

has a great and

time to complete

it in,

difficult

task

cannot afford

by unnecessary diversions, but goes straight

to the goal, leaving everything else aside.

Even

man

we

so

freely

acknowledge that the contemplative

at a disadvantage when compared a more worldly turn of mind. But this with others of the position in which a true Christian accentuates merely is in

many ways

compared with one who

not hampered by a very sensitive conscience. It only adds a new proof to the old saying that 'the children of this world are wiser finds himself,

in their generation

than the children of

is

light.'

XX. The impulse

given by S. Teresa and S. John of The annals and the Cross has borne abundant fruit. chronicles of the Order, so far as they are published, bear witness to the earnestness with which in almost every

country of Europe, and even in remote parts of the world, the teaching of these great mystics has been carried into practise

by countless souls. For our present purpose it mention a few of the authors who have

will suffice to

systematically treated Mystical theology on the lines laid

down by Teresa and John.

The

ascetical part has never

had a more thoroughgoing exponent than the Ven. John of Jesus-Mary (-J- 1615), while the purely mystical side has been exhaustively treated by the Ven. Jerome-Gratian (+ 1614); the Ven. Thomas of Jesus (+ 1627); Fr. Philip of the Blessed Trinity (+ 1671), whose Summa theologies mysticce (reprinted in three vols. at

1874),

may

be considered as the

Order on these subjects.

We

official

Brussels in

utterance of the

must, however, add the

names of Antony of the Holy Ghost (-J- 1674), Antony of the Annunciation (+ 1714), and Joseph of the Holy Ghost (+ 1739), and that of a lay-brother, Lawrence of the Re surrection

(+

1690).

The Calced

Carmelites, too, have


IN

THE CARMELITE ORDER.

21

produced a number of authors dealing with Mystical the ology, notably Fr. Michael of S. Augustin (-f 1684), and a lay-brother, John of S. Samson (+ 1636). Among those who personally experienced mystical phenomena, S.

Mary-Magdalen de Pazzi (+

S.

Teresa

second only to marvellous was the Ven. Margaret

; scarcely less of the Blessed Sacrament

(+

1607),

1648),

is

whose

beatification

will shortly take place.

XXI. The works of

S.

John of the Cross were first An excellent, if somewhat

published in Spanish in 1619.

antiquated, French translation appeared in 1652 from the pen of Fr. Cyprian of the Nativity, who had also trans lated those of S. Teresa. He enriched his edition by a

Commentary on S. John of the Cross, by Fr. Nicholas of Jesus (+ 1660), and certain notes by Fr. James of Jesus, of Toledo. A recent publication by translation of the

Berrueta Dominguez, El misticismo en la poesia : San Juande la Cruz, 1897, deserves to be noticed in this place. Sr.

The

first,

and, so

far,

only English translation of S.

John was made by the late David Lewis, M.A., at the request of Fr. Faber, and appeared in two volumes in 1864, with an excellent introduction by Cardinal Wise man. In the second edition (Thomas Baker, 1888) this was replaced by the Life of S. John, otherwise the edition remained practically unchanged. The present volume is a reprint of the last-named edition, with a few printer's errors corrected.

FR.

BENEDICT ZIMMERMAN PRIOR, O.C.D.

ST. LUKE'S PRIORY,

WINCANTON, SOMERSET. Feast of the Conversion of S. Paul, 1906.



THE ASCENT OF MOUNT CARMEL



THE

ASCENT OF MOUNT CARMEL ARGUMENT. THE

following stanzas are a

summary

of the doctrine

contained in this book of the Ascent of

Mount Carmel.

They

also describe

of

that

it,

is,

how we

together, because that

may

summit

to the high state of perfection, called here

union of the soul with

upon them.

are to ascend to the

God.

I

which

place

have to say

I

Thus the whole substance

be comprehended at once.

again, and each nature of my work requires.

each stanza

In a dark night, With anxious love inflamed, I

I

went,

house being now at

rest.

In darkness and in safety,

By

the secret ladder, disguised,

O, happy lot! In darkness and concealment.

My

house being now

at rest.

is

founded

my

book

transcribe

separately,

i

My

of

I shall also

line

STANZAS.

O, happy lot Forth unobserved

the stanzas

all

as

the


THE ASCENT OF MOUNT CARMEL.

In that happy night, In secret, seen of none,

Seeing nought myself, Without other light or guide Save tha,* which in my heart was burning.

That

light

guided

me

More surely than the noonday sun To the place where He was waiting for me. Whom I knew well, And where none appeared.

O, guiding night O, night more lovely than the O, night that hast united ;

dawn

;

The lover with His beloved, And changed her into her love

On my

flowery bosom,

Kept whole for Him alone, There He reposed and slept

And

;

Him, and the waving Of the cedars fanned Him. I

As His

caressed

hair floated in the breeze

That blew from the turret, He struck me on the neck

With His gentle hand, And all sensation left me.

I

continued in oblivion

lost,

head was resting on my love; Lost to all things and myself,

My

And, amid the

Threw

all

my

lilies

forgotten,

cares away.


THE ASCENT OF MOUNT CARMEL.

PROLOGUE. THE dark

which the soul passes, on

its

the divine light of the perfect union of the

to

way

night, through

love of

God

requires

for

so its

far

as

it

in

is

explanation

this

greater

life

possible

experience

and

knowledge than I possess. For so great are trials, and so profound the darkness, spiritual as

light of

the

which souls must pass, if perfection, that no human learning

well as corporal, through

they will attain to can explain them, nor experience describe them. He only who has passed through them can know them, but even he cannot explain them. Therefore, while touching but slightly on the subject 01 this dark night, I

neither

trust

both

mislead

may

tures,

under

the

He who

because

I

Nevertheless, ing,

my

to

and

experience nor to knowledge, for

me

but solely to the Holy Scrip

;

teaching

wnich

of

speaks therein

is

I

the

cannot

err,

Holy Ghost.

accept the aid of experience and learn

through ignorance I should err, it is not intention to depart from the sound doctrine of OUT if

I resign myself holy mother the Catholic Church. absolutely to her light, and submit to her decisions,

and moreover men, be they 2.

It is

to the better

they may. not any personal fitness which

in myself that has led

high and so

Who,

I

judgment herein of private

who

me

I

recognise

to undertake this work, so

but solely my trust in our Lord, hope, will enable me to speak on account ol difficult,

the great necessities of

many

souls.

Many

persons


THE ASCENT OF MOUNT CARMEL,

4

begin to walk in the

them

to lead

way

our Lord longing

of virtue

into this dark night that they

onwards into the divine union

but

make no

sometimes because they will not enter upon nor suffer

Him

to lead

them

may

into it;

travel

progress

;

this night,

and sometimes

own state, and wise diractors who may

also because they do not understand their

and are

destitute

of

fit

How

guide them to the summit of the mount.

miser

whom God

has given grace to advance and who, had they taken courage, would have reached perfection remain ungenerous in able

it

to see

is

many

souls, to

God, through want of will or through ignorance, or because they have no one to their

with

dealing

their steps, and to teach them how to go onwards from the beginning. And in the end, when our Lord has compassion on them, and leads them on

direct

in spite of these hindrances, they arrive late, with

much

and less merit, because they have not submitted themselves to His ways, nor suffered Him to plant their feet on the pure and certain road of difficulty,

union. Though it is true that God, Who leads them, can do so without these helps, still, because they do not yield themselves up to Him, they make less pro

gress on the road,

merit

less

whereby

they

do

their

not

guide submit

;

and they their

will,

There

are

instead of abandoning themselves to

the

their

souls who,

care

because

resisting

sufferings

are

increased.

and protection of God, hinder

their indiscreet

children who, in their arms,

behaviour,

when

or

Him

resistance

;

rather like

by

little

mothers would carry them struggle and cry that they may be their


THE ASCENT OF MOUNT CARMEL.

5

These souls make no progress, or if comparable only to the walking of an

allowed to walk.

they do,

is

it

infant child.

men may know, beginners as well as those who have made some progress, how to resign them selves into the hands of God when it is His pleasure to In order that

3.

lead them, I purpose, by His help, to furnish instruction

and counsel, whereby they may understand the matter for themselves, or at least submit to the guidance of God.

Some

and

because they have no perception or experience of these ways, are a hindrance and an evil, rather than a help to such souls confessors

spiritual directors,

;

they are like the builders of Babel

;

who, when

required

to furnish certain materials, furnished others of a very different sort,

because they knew not the language of

those around them, and thus the building was stopped. 1

Come ye

therefore,' saith

God,

'

let

us go

down and there

confound their tongue, that none may hear his neighbour's voice.

And so

our Lord dispersed them.'

*

a hard and miserable thing for souls when they cannot comprehend their own state, nor meet with any 4.

It is

For when God leads any one along the and dryness, such highest road of obscure contemplation an one will think himself lost and in this darkness and

one who can.

;

trouble, distress

and temptation, some

will

be sure to

tell

are him, like the comforters of Job,t that his sufferings the effects of melancholy, or of disordered health, or of

natural temperament, or, for

at

it

may

be, of

some

secret sin

which God has abandoned him. Yea, they will decide once that he is, or that he has been, exceedingly *

Gen.

xi. 7, 8.

t Job.

iv.


THE ASCENT OF MOUNT CARMEL.

6

wicked, seeing that he

say that he

is

is

Some

thus afflicted.

also will

going backwards, because he finds no con

solation or pleasure, as before, in the things of God.

Thus they multiply the sorrows of greatest trial it

is

this

poor

own

the knowledge of his

soul, for his

misery,

when

seems to him clearer than light that he is full of evil sin, because God enables him, as I shall hereafter

and

explain,* to see this in the night of contemplation.

And

when he meets with those who tell him, in accordance with his own impressions, that his troubles arise out of his own sins, his grief and misery are infinitely increased so,

and rendered more

bitter

Such confessors as

5.

all his

sidering

him

than death. these, not satisfied with con

sorrows to flow from past

whole

to retrace his

life,

and

to

sins,

make

compel frequent

general confessions, putting him on the rack anew.

do not understand acts

it is

;

now

thp.t this

They

not the time for such

is

the daj of God's purgation,

when they

ought to leave him alone, comforting him, indeed, and encouraging him to bear his trials patiently until God shall be pleased to deliver him for until then, notwith ;

say or do, there can be no relief. have to treat of this with the help of God here

standing 6.

I

after,

all

they

may

of the behaviour of the soul, and the dealings of

the confessor with tain

whether

it,

of the signs whereby

we may

ascer

be a state of purgation, and if it be, this is the dark night of spirit

this

whether of sense or of

which

I

am

speaking

and whether or not

of melancholy or

it

be the

effect

any other imperfection of body or soul. For there are persons who will think, or their confessors *

Park Night,

bk-

ii.

ch. $.


THE ASCENT OF MOUNT CARMEL.

God

them, that

for

is

7

leading them along the road of the

dark night of spiritual purgation, and

yet, perhaps, all is of but sense or and others imperfection nothing spirit also who think they do not pray when they pray much, and, on the other hand, there are those who think ;

they pray at

much when they do not in reality pray scarcely

all.

7.

There are some

and

is

it

sad to see them

who

and labour, wearying themselves, and yet go back wards, because they make the fruit which is profitable to

toil

consist in that

hindrance

;

which

profits not,

and others who,

great advancement.

but which

in rest

is

rather a

and quietness, make

Others also there are

the very graces and gifts of God, given

who

them

turn

for their

advancement, into embarrassments and stumbling-blocks on the road. 8.

Those who travel on

this

road will meet with

many

occasions of joys and sufferings, hopes and sorrows, some of which are the result of the spirit of perfection, others

endeavour, by God's help, to so that everyone who shall read my book

of imperfection.

speak of

all,

I shall

may, in some degree, see the road he takes, and that which he ought to take, if he wishes to ascend to the

summit of this mount. 9.

As my book

treats

oi'

the dark night in which the

soul journeys on to God, let no one be surprised finds at

it

first,

also

somewhat obscure.

It will

be

if

he

so, certainly,

but as the reader advances he will understand

it

one part of it will throw light on another. If it be read a second time it will become more intelligible, and the doctrine it contains will appear the more certain. better, for


THE ASCENT OF MOUNT CARMEL.

$ But

Hard, let tor

there should be

if still

them ascribe

the matter of

10.

But

it is

it

in

to

any

whom

it

shall

seem

my ignorance and poor style, itself good and very necessary. to

after all I believe that, if I

had written

it

in

perfect manner, many would not appreciate it, because its contents are not those moralities and sooth i

more

ing matters which those spiritual persons run after who draw near to God in pleasant ways, but a solid

desire to

they seek to ad vance to that detachment of spirit which is here described.

and substantial doctrine suited to

all, if

object, however, is not to address myself to to certain persons of our holy order of Mount but all, only Carmel, of the primitive observance friars as well as

My principal

;

nuns, this

who by

mount.

the grace of

It is at their

God

are on the

request

I

pathway of

have undertaken

my

They, indeed, already detached from the things of this life, will the better understand this doctrine oi detach task.

ment

ot spirit.


THE ASCENT OF MOUNT CARMEL.

BOOK

I.

THE NATURE OF THE DARK NIGHT, THE NECESSITY OF PASSING THROUGH IT IN ORDER TO ATTAIN TO THE DIVINE UNION AND SPECIALLY THE DARK NIGHT OF :

SENSE AND DESIRE, WITH THE EVILS WHICH THESE INFLICT ON THE SOUL.

CHAPTER Two

I.

kinds of this night, corresponding with the division of the soul into higher and lower.

STANZA

I.

In a dark night. With anxious love inflamed, O, happy lot!

Forth unobserved I went,

My house

being now at

rest.

stanza describes the happy state of the soul at J.

departure from

perfections to it is

all

things, from the desires

which our sensual nature

not ordered by reason.

is

The meaning

its

and im

subject because

of

it is

this

:

in

order to reach perfection, the soul has to pass, ordinarily,

through two kinds of night, which spiritual writers

call


THE ASCENT

1

[BOOK

purgations, or purifications, of the soul, and which

I.]

have

I

called night, because in the one as well as in the other

the soul travels, as

it

were,

by

night, in darkness.

2. The first night is the night, or purgation, of the sensual part of the soul, treated of in this first stanza, and

in the first part of this

The second night

work.

is

the

night of the spiritual part, of which the second and follow

ing stanza speaks, and which I shall discuss in the second part of my work, so far as it relates to the soul's activity

and

therein,

in the third

and fourth

lates to its passive condition in

The meaning

3.

went

part, so far as

of the stanza then

is,

that the soul

forth, led of God, through love of Him only,

of,

and purgation from,

all

re

it.

that love inflamed, in the dark night, which tion

it

is

and with

the priva

sensual desires in

all

out

ward things of this world all the pleasures of the flesh, and all the satisfactions of the will. This is wrought in this purgation of sense, and for this reason is it said that ;

the soul went forth,

its

being at rest

desires being at rest

all its

the soul asleep to

them

;

house, that

for there is

is

the sensual part,

and

asleep,

and

no going away from till they be morti

the pains and vexations of the desires fied

and put

4.

to sleep.

The happy

lot of the soul, then, lies in this

unob

served departure which no carnal desire or aught else And also in that this departure took to hinder.

was able place

by

night,

which

is

the privation of

wrought by God, a condition which

The happy lot soul. being led of God into blessing results,

is

all

desire

as night to the

of the soul, then, consists in

its

from which so great a but into which it could not have entered this night


[CHAP. of

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

II.]

because no one

itself,

11

own

able in his

is

empty

his heart of all desires, so as to

God.

This

is

strength to

draw near unto

the meaning of the stanza.

ceed to explain each line of

it

and

separately,

now

I

pro

to discuss

the subject of this book.

CHAPTER The '

nature and cause of the dark night.

IN a dark night/

union

is

II.

The journey

of the soul to the divine

The

called night for three reasons.

first

is

derived from the point from which the soul sets out, the privation of the desire of all pleasure in all the things of

by detachment therefrom. This is as night for every desire and sense of man. The second, from the road by which it travels that is faith, for faith is obscure, this world,

;

The

like night, to the understanding.

goal to nite,

which

Who

it

third,

tends, God, incomprehensible

if

we

and

We

in this life is as night to the soul.

pass through these three nights

from the infi

must

are to attain to the

divine union with God. 2.

They

are foreshadowed in

three nights which were to

mand

Holy Scripture by the elapse, according to the com

of the angel, between the betrothal and the

riage of the younger Tobias.

her/ said the angel,

'

'When

mar

thou shalt take

entering into the chamber, for three

days be continent from to burn the liver of the

her.'*

On

the

fish in the fire,

first

night he was

which

is

the heart,

the affections of which are set on the things of this world,

which,

if it

will enter *

on the road that leadeth unto

Tob.

vi.

18.


THE ASCENT

12

|

BOOK

I.]

God, must be burned up, and purified of all created things His love. This purgation drives awav the evil spirit who has dominion over our soul, because of

in the fire of

our attachment to those pleasures which flow froro tem poral and corporeal things. '

'3.

The second

night,' said the angel,

'

thou shalt be

admitted into the society of the holy patriarchs,' the

The

fathers of the faith. night,

which

is

soul having passed the

the privation of all sensible things, enters

immediately into the second night, alone in pure

and by

it

first

alone directed

faith,

for faith is not subject to

:

sense.

'The

4.

third

said the

night,'

angel,

'thou

shalt

obtain a blessing' that is, God, Who, in the second night of faith, communicates Himself so secretly and so

intimately

inasmuch

as

to this

than the others, as this

night the

of

is

This

is

communication

is

the

soul.

when

more

I shall presently explain.

over,

which

communication

effected

another night,

the

God

of

soul

is

in

is

union with the bride, which

immediately ensues.

is

the in

When

accomplishment spirit,

great the

obscure

ordinarily

darkness,

the

wisdom of God,

The angel adds

saying to When the third night is passed, thou shalt Tobias, take the virgin with the fear of our Lord.' This fear also,

*

and the love of God become perfect together, and are then perfect

when

the soul

is

by love transformed

in

God. 5.

speak of these three causes separately, that be the better understood, first reminding the

I shall

they may reader that the three nights are but one divided into


[CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

III.]

The

three parts.

first,

which

13

that of sense,

is

may be

commencement of night when material The second, of faith, may

likened to the

objects begin to be invisible.

be compared to mid-night, which is utter darkness. The third resembles the close of night, which is God,

when

dawn

the

of

day

is at

hand.

CHAPTER The

first

cause of this night, the privation of the desire all

THE is

absence

of

For as night

light, and,

whereby the

objects,

in

things.

privation of all pleasure to the desire in

here called night.

the

III.

is

all

nothing

consequently,

things

else but

of visible

faculty of vision remains in dark

ness unemployed, so the mortification of the desires

For when the soul denies

as night to the soul.

is

itself

those pleasures which outward things furnish to the desire,

As

it is

as

it

were

in darkness, without occupation.

nourished by light and fed by visible objects, and ceases to be so fed when the light is withdrawn, so the soul by means of the desire feeds on the faculty of vision

is

those things which, corresponding with it

pleasure

;

but

when

the desire

is

is

powers, give

mortified,

no more pleasure from them, and desire

its

it

derives

thus, so far as the

concerned, the soul abides in darkness, without

occupation. 2.

This

may be

illustrated

faculties of the soul.

When

in

the case of

all

the

the soul denies itself the

all that gratifies the ear, it pleasure arising remains, so far as the faculty of hearing is concerned,

from


THE ASCENT

14

in darkness, without occupation itself in

all

that

is

which

satisfaction derivable

as night,

is

an entire detachment from

3.

God

denies

remains in

who

said of the other senses, for he

of sense, mortifying the desire thereof, in a state

it

it

I.J

relates to the faculty of sight.

it

deny himself all

shall

and when

pleasing to the eye,

darkness, so far as

The same may be

;

[BOOK

and

all

may

this is

from objects be said to be

nothing else but

things.

Philosophers say that the soul is a blank when first infuses it into the body, without knowledge of

any kind whatever, and incapable of receiving know ledge, in the course of nature, in

any other way than

Thus, while in the body, the soul through the senses. is Ihce a man in a dark prison, who has no knowledge of

what passes without beyond what he can learn by look ing through the window of his cell, and who if he did not so look could in no other

way

learn anything at

all.

know anything but through the senses, which are the windows of its cell. If, then, the impressions and communications of Thus, then, the soul cannot naturally

sense be rejected and denied, soul

is

we may

opinion there

is

in.

indeed, that

It is true,

we cannot help

and touching, but

ing, smelling, tasting,

moment, and does not trouble the objects of sense

i?

the

in

are repelled,

hearing, see this is of

soul,

when

any more than

if

no the

we

he who shuts his eyes is as darkness as a blind man who cannot see. This

neither heard nor

much

well say that the

and empty, because according to this no other natural way for light to enter

in darkness

saw

;

for

meaning of the Psalmist when he

'

said,

I

am


MOUNT CARMEL.

OF

[CflAP. IV.]

poor, though

had not

is

it

He

says that he because he certain he was rich

poor and in labours from is

16

my

youth.'*

;

mind upon riches, he was really like a But if he had been really poor, yet not in

set hi?

poor man. spirit, he would not have been truly poor, for his soul would have been rich, full of desires.

detachment the night of the soul, for I am not speaking here of the absence of things for absence is not detachment, if the desire remains - but of I call this

4.

that detachment

which consists

and avoiding pleasure

this that sets the soul free,

it is

;

in suppressing desire,

even though possession may be still retained. It is not the things of this world that occupy or injure the soul, they do not enter within, but rather the wish for, and desire of them which abide within it. This is the night

for

And now

of the sensual part of the soul.

explain

how

the soul

to

is

go

forth from

its

proceed to house in the I

obscure night of sense, in order to be united with God.

CHAPTER The

IV.

necessity of passing truly through the dark night of sense,

which

the mortification of the desire, in order to entei

is

on the road of union with God.

THE

soul

must of necessity

divine union of

is

is this

in the eyes of

involved

we would

God pass through

mortification of the desires,

The reason

if

;

all

the *

Psal.

the dark night of

self-denial in all things.

we bestow on

the love

God mere

therein,

and

attain to the

creatures

darkness, and while we a^e

soul

is

ixxxvii.

16.

incapable

of being


THE ASCENT

16

[BOOK

I.j

enlightened and possessed by the pure and simple light of God, unless we first cast that love away. Light hath no The fellowship with darkness, for as St. John saith, '

shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not

light

comprehend

Two

it.'*

contrary

qualities,

as

the

philosophers say, cannot co-exist in the same subject.

Darkness, which

which

is

for as St.

is

the love of creatures,

and

ship hath light with darkness

?

'f

The

light of the

divine union cannot, therefore, dwell in the soul affections are not cast 2.

The

light,

God, are unlike and contrary to one another, Paul saith to the Corinthians, " What fellow

affection

if

these

away.

and attachment which the soul

for the creature renders the soul its equal

and

fee}*

its like,

and the greater the affection the greater will be the like ness. Love begets a likeness between the lover and the and so the Psalmist, speaking of those heart upon idols, says, Let them that

object of his love,

who set their make them become

'

like unto them,

and

all

that have

Thus, he who loves the creature as that creature itself, and in one sense

confidence in them.'J

becomes even

vile

viler, for

love not only levels, but subjects also the

lover to the object of his love.

He, therefore, who loveth anything beside God renders his soul incapable of the divine union and 3.

transformation in God, for the vileness of the creatu. e

is

removed from the greatness of the Creator than darkness is from light. All things in heaven and earth

further

'I beheld

are nothing in comparison with God. *

S.

John

i.

5.

t 2 Cor.

vi.

14.

t

Ps. cxiii.

8.

the


[CHAT.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

iv.J

earth.' saith

'

He,

and

lo,

it

17

was void and a thing

of

nothing, and the heavens, and there was no light in them/* The earth, void and nothing,' signifies that the '

earth and all

it

contains are nothing, and the heavens

without light, that all the lights of heaven, in com Thus all parison with God, are perfect darkness. created things, with the affections bestowed upon them,

a hindrance, and

are nothing, because they are

the

privation of our transformation in God, just as darkness is

nothing, and less than nothing, being the absence of

And

light.

as he

who

is

in darkness

comprehends not

the light, so the soul, the affections of which are given to the creature, shall never comprehend God.

purged of these affections we shall not possess

soul

is

God

in this life in the

the

4.

to

life

more

Until our

come

pure transformation of love, nor in

in the beatific vision.

glear I shall enter into

The whole

being of God,

creation,

is

some

To make

this

particulars.

compared with the infinite and so the soul, the affections

nothing of which are set on created things, is nothing, and even less than nothing before God, because love begets equality

bility

likeness,

Such a

beloved.

which

and

;

inferiority to the object

cannot by any possi being of God, because that

soul, therefore,

be united to the is

and even

infinite

not can have no

communion with

that which

is.

All the beauty of the creation, in comparison with the

beauty of God,

'

supreme deformity, for grace is deceitful and is vain,'f and so the soul, the beauty affections of which are set on the beauty of any created infinite

is

thing whatever, shows before C

*

Jer. iv. 23.

God nothing but +

Prov. xxxi. 30.

deformity


THE ASCENT

18

and can never be transformed

[BOOK which

in beauty,

T.]

God,

is

All the

because deformity cannot attain unto beauty.

grace and comeliness of creation, compared with the grace of God,

and that

supreme disgrace and supreme disfavour, therefore, which is captivated by the grace

is

soul,

and comeliness of created things is in the eyes of God in disfavour and disgrace, incapable of the infinite grace and beauty, for that which is ill-favoured from that which is infinitely gracious. 5.

is far

removed

All the goodness of the whole world together, in

comparison with the infinite goodness of God, is wicked ness rather than goodness, for none is good but only '

God,'* and that soul

is,

therefore,

wicked before God,

the affections of which are set on the things of this

world

;

and as wickedness can have no fellowship with

goodness, so that soul cannot be united in perfect union

with God, 6.

who

All the

is

the supreme goodness.

wisdom

of the

world, and

all

human

cunning, compared with the infinite wisdom of God,

is

simple and supreme ignorance, for the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.' t He, therefore, who *

shall labour to attain to union with the in reliance

ignorant,

on his own wisdom and

and

skill, is

infinitely distant therefrom

:

supremely

for ignorance

is.

ignorant, 'professing themselves to be wise, they fools.'*

like *

of God,

They who consider them gifted with knowledge are in the eyes of God most

knoweth not what wisdom selves

wisdom

They

become

alone attain to the divine wisdom who,

children and ignorant ones, lay aside their S.

Luke

xviii.

19.

t

I

Cor.

iii.

19.

+ Rom.

i.

own

22.


[CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

IV.]

19

wisdom, and serve God in love. This is the wisdom to which St. Paul refers, saying, Let no man deceive *

himself;

any man among you seem to be wise in this him become a fool that he may be wise. For

if

world, let

wisdom of

the

this

world

foolishness with

is

God.'*

Ignorance, therefore, rather than knowledge, becomes that soul

which

union with the wisdom ot

strives after

God. All the liberty and power of the world, compared with the power and liberty of the Spirit of God, is but 7.

supreme slavery, wretchedness, and captivity and so he who loves superiority and dignities, and the indulgence ;

who

of his desires, stands before God, not as a son free,

but as a person of

mean

is

condition, the slave of his

passions, because he submits not to the holy teaching,

which

*

saith,

He

that

the greater

is

become as the younger." f attain

to

among

Such an one

let

you,

him

never

will

the true liberty of spirit attainable in the

divine union, because slavery has no fellowship with liberty, liberty dwelleth not in a heart subject to desires,

but in that which

for that heart is in captivity,

the heart of a son.

unto

Abraham

for the

' :

It

was

for this reason that

is free,

Sara said

Cast out this handmaid and her son,

son of the handmaid shall not be heir with

my

son Isaac.' + 8. All the sweetness and all the pleasures which all the things of this world furnish to the will are, in com

parison with the sweetness and pleasure which

supreme pain, torment, and *

I

Cor. Hi

C2

18,

19.

t

S.

bitterness.

Luke

xxii.

26.

is

God,

He, therefore, T Gen. xxi

10.


THE ASCENT

20

who

shall set his heart

[BOOK

I.]

upon them is, in the eyes of God, and bitterness, and can never

worthy of pain, torment,

delights with which the divine union

attain to those

abounds. All the riches and glory of the whole creation com pared with the true riches, which is God, is supreme 9.

poverty and meanness, and he who sets his heart upon them is, in God's sight, supremely poor and mean, and

can never attain to the blessed estate of riches and glory, which is the transformation of the soul in God for that ;

which which

mean and poor

is is

supremely

For

10.

rich

is infinitely

and

distant from that

glorious.

this cause, then, the divine

men namely, because ;

they

wisdom bewails

make themselves loathsome,

mean, wretched, and poor, through their love for that which is beautiful, rich, and noble in the eyes of the world.

'O men,

sons of men.

O

to

little

and

is

to the

ones, understand subtlety,

and ye

you

I cry,

my

voice

unwise mark.

Hear, for I will speak of great things.

With me

are riches and glory, glorious riches and

.

.

.

justice.

stone,

my fruit is better than gold and precious my blossoms than chosen silver. I walk in

For and

way of justice, in the midst of the paths of judgment, that I may enrich them that love me, and may replenish their treasures.' * Here God addresses Himself to those who set their affections on the things of this world He calls them little ones, because they make themselves He bids them little, like the object of their love. the

;

understand subtlety,' and mark,' becau.se He is speak ing of great things, and not of little things, such as they '

'

*

Prov.

viii.

4-6,

18-21.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. V.]

He

are.

tells

21

them that great riches and glory, objects Him and in Him, and not where

of their love, are with

Glorious riches and they think they shall find them. For though the things of this justice are with wisdom. '

'

world

may seem

to

men

to

be something, yet

take notice, the things of

God

wisdom

and precious

better than gold

is

are better.

let

The

them

fruit ot

and that

stones,

which wisdom produces in the soul is preferable to the chosen silver which they love. This is applicable to every kind of affection to which

we

CHAPTER Continuation of the same subject. necessity

life.

V.

Proofs from Scripture of the

God

drawing near unto

of

are liable in this

through the dark

night of mortified desires.

I

HAVE now explained how

great

created things and God, and

the distance between

is

how

souls

which

set their

from Him, because

affections thereon are equally distant

as I have said* love begets equality and likeness. This was well understood by S. Augustine when, con sidering his own inclination towards the creature, he

God

thus spoke unto fellowship hath

my

' :

Miserable

man

that I am,

perverseness with

what

Thy uprightness Thou art truly good, I wicked Thou art full of com passion, I am hard of heart; Thou art holy, I am miserable Thou art just, I am unjust Thou art light, Thou art life, and I am death Thou art I am darkness medicine, I am sick Thou art sovereign truth, and I

?

;

;

;

;

;

;

utter

This the

vanity. 'f

saint

said of subjection to

created things. t Soliloq.

c.

ii.

Opp. Ed. Ben. *

Ch.

iv.

torn.

vi.

App.

p. 86.


THE ASCENT

22

[BOOK

I.]

any one to think that he can ever attain to the high estate of union with God before he casts away from him the desire of 2. It is, therefore,

supreme ignorance

for

natural things, and of supernatural also, so far as

it

con

cerns self-love, because the distance between them and that which takes place in the state of pure transformation in

God

For Christ our Lord hath

the very greatest.

is

way, Every one of you that he that possesseth, cannot be my '

said, instructing us in this

doth not renounce

This

disciple.'*

He came

all

is

plain, for the doctrine of Christ

into the world to teach,

is

which

contempt of

all

things, that we may thereby have power to receive the reward of the Spirit of God. For he who does not with draw himself from the things of the world, is not qualified to receive the Spirit of 3.

This truth

is

God

in the pure transformation.

foreshadowed

in the

book of Exodus,f

where we read that God did not give the manna to the people of Israel till the corn they had brought from Egypt had failed them, thereby showing us that every thing must be given up, for the bread of angels

given

to,

neither

is

it

meant

for,

pleased with the bread of man. strange meats, and

is

not

that palate which

He who

is

feeds on

delighted therewith, not only dis qualifies himself for the reception of the Holy Ghost, but is

also provokes God to anger exceedingly, as all do who, while they seek spiritual food, are not content with God only, but intermingle therewith carnal and earthly satis factions. is

This appears from the same history, where it Who will give us flesh to eat :'+

said the people cried,

They were not *

S.

Luke

xiv. 33.

<

satisfied

with food so pure, for they

f Ex.

xvi.

4.

J Num.

xi. 4.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. v.J

demanded the

desired and

23

God was

flesh of beasts.

grievously offended because they would mingle flesh, so

and coarse, with the pure and heavenly bread which, though always the same, had in it the sweetness of vile

'

every taste,'* for, as David saith, the wrath of God in fire from heaven consumed many thousands of them, while '

their

meat was

upon them, and

in their

mouth the wrath

of

God came

He

slew the fat ones amongst them, and brought down the chosen men of Israel.' t God regarded it as an evil wish to desire other food when He was giving them the bread of heaven. 4.

Oh, would that spiritual persons knew

how they

are

losing the good things of the Spirit, abundantly fur nished, because they will not raise trifles,

up

their desires

above

and how they might have the sweetness of all pure food of the Spirit if they would only

things in the

But as they

forego them.

will not, so they shall not

The people

have such sweetness.

of Israel perceived

not the sweetness of every taste in the manna, though it was there, because they would not limit their desires to it

The sweetness and

alone.

not for them, not because for other

they longed any other thing with

it

strength of the

was not

meats beside

God makes

manna was

there, but because it.

He who

loves

Him, because the balance with Him that which is infinitely

he puts into beneath Him.

when

We

know by

light of

experience that the

will,

on a particular object, magnifies it above all others, if it has no pleasure in them, though they may be of greater importance than what it desires. And if it set

should desire two things together, *

Wisd.

xvi. 20.

t

it

does wrong to the

Ps. Ixxvii. 30, 31.


THE ASCENT

24

chief of the two, because

between them.

There

it

is

[BOOK

I.]

establishes an unjust equality

nothing in the whole world to and, therefore, he who loves

be compared with God anything together with Him, wrongs Him. And if this be true, what does he do who loves anything more than ;

God? This truth

5.

is set

before us in the book of Exodus.

When God commanded Moses Sinai, He bade him go up alone

to ;

go up into mount

the children of Israel

were to remain below, and even the cattle were not to feed in sight of the mountain. * Thou shalt stand with

Me

on the top of the mount. Let no man go up with thee, and let not any man be seen throughout all the mount neither let the oxen nor the sheep feed over :

He, therefore, that will go up into the mount of perfection and hold communion with God, it.'*

against

must not only abandon everything, but restrain even his desires, the sheep and the cattle from feeding in sight of the

mount

God, in desire

that

Whom,

must

is,

upon anything which

that

cease.

is,

is

not simply

in the state of perfection, every

This journey or ascent must there

fore be a perpetual struggle with our desires to

them

we

cease,

and the more earnest we are the sooner

But

reach the summit.

can never reach virtue

is

it,

shall

until the desires cease

notwithstanding our

many

we

virtues, for

not perfectly acquired before our souls are

empty, detached, and purified from 6.

make

Of this

truth

we have a

of the patriarch Jacob. *

lively figure in the history

When

Bethel to build an altar for

all desire.

he was on his way to sacrifice unto God, he com-

Ex. xxxiv. 2,

3.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. V.]

manded

25

his household the observance of three things

the casting

away

'

the changing of their garments. all his

together

:

of strange gods, self-purification, and

Jacob having called

household, said, cast

the strange

away

gods that are among you, and be cleansed and change your garments.'* He, therefore, who will ascend to the

mount of

perfection, to build

unto

God

adoration,

must

offer

mandments

an altar there, whereon to

the sacrifice of pure love, praise, and first

of

all perfectly fulfil

He must

of Jacob.

cast

the three

the strange

away

He must

gods, the earthly affections and attachments. purify himself from the impressions

have made on the

soul, in the

com

which the desires

obscure night of sense,

denying them and doing penance duly for them, and, in the third place, he must change his garments. This God himself will do during the observance of the

commandments; He new, by

will

first

two

change them from old into

infusing into the soul a

new understanding

of

human understanding being set aside, and a new love of God in God, the will being detached from its old desires and human satisfactions, by bringing the soul into a state of new knowledge God

and

in

of

God,

deep

the

all

delight,

other

knowledge and old

imaginings being cast away; and, finally, by causing that which is of the old man to cease which is our natural aptitude, and

natural

aptitude,

the soul, so that the soul

investing us with a

corresponding with all

may become

that

is

divine.

the

super

powers

of

human

in

This

the object gained

is

in the state of union, in which the soul *

new

Gen, xx*v.

3.

the action ot

is

nothing else


THE ASCENT

26

God whereon

but an altar of love 7.

is offered,

This

is

of sacrifice

make

and where

He

[BOOK

I.]

the sacrifice of praise and

dwells alone.

the reason why, under the old law, the altar

was

be hollow within.

to

'

Thou

shalt not

but empty and hollow in the inside.'* It is the will of God that the soul should be empty of all created things, so that it may become a fitting altar of it

solid,

He would

His Majesty. altar,

not endure strange

own should

nor that His

*

fail.

Nadab and Abiu,

the sons of Aaron, taking their censers, put

and incense on which was

riot

it,

on the

fires

fire therein,

offering before the Lord strange

commanded them, and

fire

fire

:

coming out

from the Lord destroyed them, and they died before the Lord.'f Because Nadab and Abiu, sons of Aaron the high

priest, offered

strange

anger slew them before would become a fitting

fire

Thai

it.

God

in his

soul, therefore,

which

on the

altar,

must not be without the

altar,

love of God, nor mingle therewith any other and strange love.

God

will never dwell there

where aught

Thus we read in the when the Philistines took

beside Himself.

Kings, that

first

is

present

book of the

the ark of

God

and brought it into the temple of Dagon, their idol was thrown to the ground, and at last broken to pieces.* 8.

One

desire only doth

God

allow,

and

His

suffer, in

presence, that of perfectly observing His law, and of

We

carrying the cross of Christ. divine writings that

book

of the law, to

manna was the side

do not read

in the

He commanded

anything except the be laid up with the ark where the

Take

and put it in of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your *

preserved.

*

Levit. x.

I

this book,

2,

+i Kings

v.

i

5.


[CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

VI.]

God '*

27

and the rod of Aaron, type of the

'Take

cross.

back the rod of Aaron into the tabernacle of the

testi

That soul which has no other aim than the

mony.'! perfect observance of the law of God, and the carrying of the cross of Christ, will be a true ark containing the true

manna, which

is

God.

CHAPTER Two

great evils of the desires

:

VI. negative and positive.

Proofs from Scripture.

To make stood, inflict

it

this matter is

more

and perfectly under

clear,

advisable here to explain

two great

evils

on the

how

These

soul.

the desires

evils are, the

privation of the Spirit of God, and the other, fatigue, torture, darkness, defilement,

and weakness of that soul

which indulges them. My people have done two evils have forsaken the fountain of living water, and Me, they '

:

have digged to themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.' + These two evils flow from one single act of desire

for

;

it is

clear that the instant

we

set

our affections upon any one created thing, our capacity for union with God is diminished in proportion to the intensity of that act of affection.

For, as I said before,

two contrary qualities cannot co-exist in the same sub the love of God and the love of the creature are ject ;

contrary, the one to the other,

together in the *

same

Deut. xxxi. 26

J Jerem.

ii.

13.

;

heart.

Ex. xvi. 33.

and so cannot dwell

What

connection t Numb. Ch.

iv.

is

xvii. 10.

there


THE ASCENT

28

[BOOK

between the creature and the Creator sensual and the spiritual

The temporal and and

food, pure

spiritual,

Between the

?

The seen and

?

the eternal

I.J

the unseen

?

Between the heavenly

?

and the food of the

flesh,

simply

Between the poverty of Christ and selfish attachments As in natural generation, no new form sensual

r

?

without the corruption of the one

results

previously

former by reason of the so while our souiS are under

for this obstructs the

existing

contrariety between

them

the dominion of the sensual and animal

and heavenly

spirit

spirit,

can never enter within

th"

the pure

em.

This explains those words of our Lord, It is not good to take the bread of children, and to cast it to '

2.

the dogs

Our Lord ing

all

*

' ;

and Give not that which '

in these

is

holy to dogs.' f

words compares those who, renounc

earthly desires, prepare themselves in simplicity

for the graces of the

Holy Ghost, with the children

of

God, and those who satisfy their desires in earthly things, with dogs children are admitted to the Father's :

be nourished by the Spirit, but only the crumbs which fall from it are given to the dogs. All table, that

is,

to

created things are but the crumbs which table of God.

fall

from the

Thus they who go about feeding on the

creature are rightly called dogs

;

the children's bread

is

withheld from such, because they will not rise from the crumbs of the creature to the table of the uncreated

These are always hungry like because crumbs excite the appetite

Spirit of their Father.

dogs, and

justly so,

rather than appease hunger. is

written, *

'They S.

shall suffer

Matt. xv. 26.

These are they of whom it hunger like dogs and shall ;

t

Ib. vii. 6.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. VT.]

go round about the not

* filled.'

and

city

They who

29

murmur

shall

they be

if

gratify their desires are always

morose and discontented, like hungry persons for is there in common between the hunger which the creature occasions, and the fulness which proceeds from :

what

the Spirit of

God The fulness of God cannot enter into we drive away the hunger of desire, for ?

the soul before

two contrary

such as hunger and fulness,

qualities,

cannot dwell together in the same subject.

how much

from this

is

greater

the

We may see

work of God

purifying the soul from these contrarieties, than

when He

first

created

rebellious desires

it

it

was

For these

out of nothing.

and opposing affections seem to that which is not, cannot

God more than nothing

in

:

resist resist

His Majesty, but not so the love of the creature. Let this suffice for the first great evil which desires inflict on the soul, namely, resistance to the Spirit of God. 3.

Let us

now proceed

to the second,

The operations. darken, defile, and weaken the

fold in its

of

evil, I shall

it is

which

desires fatigue,

Of these

soul.

discuss each separately.

As

is

mani

torment, five

forms

to the

first,

evident that the desires weary the soul, because

they resemble

little

children, restless

and

dissatisfied,

who always begging of their mother, now one now another, are never content. As one given to

thing,

covet-

ousness fatigues himself digging for gold, so the soul wearies itself in the pursuit of those things which the desires demand, and though we may obtain them, yet the end

is

weariness, because

We have recourse

to

broken *

Ps.

we

are never satisfied.

cisterns,

Iviii.

15, 16.

which can hold no


THE ASCENT

30

water to quench our

and

thirst

thirst,

as

his soul is empty.'

is

it

*

[BOOK written,

The

'

I.]

Faint with

which yields to

soul

weary and faint, like one ill of a burning never at rest, and whose thirst increases while the

its desires, is

fever,

book of Job, When he shall be filled, he shall be straitened, he shall burn, and every sorrow shall fall upon him.' f Thus is it with the

fever lasts.

wearied and

soul,

it

by the desires they wound as wind does water, harassing

afflicted

agitate and disturb

so that

'

It is written in the

it,

it,

;

it,

can never repose on anything, or in any

place. 4.

Of such

souls

is it

written,

raging sea which cannot is

like the

subdue his

'The wicked are

The heart

rest.'+

raging sea, and he

is

of the wicked

wicked who does not

That soul which seeks

desires.

them wearies and torments

like the

and

to satisfy

one who, in itself, the pains of hunger, opens his mouth to be filled with is like

the wind, and who, instead of being satisfied therewith,

becomes

still

more hungry,

Of such

drink.

it is

for *

written,

he snuffed up the wind of his

wind

is

not his meat and

In the desire of his heart,

and again warning

love,'

the soul against the increasing dryness towards which

tends

*

bare,

.

Keep thy

that

foot,'

and thy throat from

is

greater dryness.

As

from being thy will from

thy thoughts,

thirst,'

j|

that

the gratification of the desire which the ambitious

is,

the occasion of

is

man

is

wearied in

the day of disappointed expectations, so the soul with desires

and *

$

Is.

it

was

before.

xxix. 8.

Is. Ivii. 20.

Jerem.

ii.

its

make it more empty The desires are, as it is

their fulfilment, for they

and hungry than

it

'

24.

t Job.

xx. 22.

||

Jerem.

ii.

25.


[CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

VII.]

commonly

said, like fire

but which,

fuel,

when

which burns when supplied with

the fuel

In truth, the desire

dies.

is

consumed, immediately much worse condition

is

in a

:

quenched when the fuel ceases not with the matter on which the

31

fire is

but the desire

fails, it

fed while

it

raged,

even though that be utterly consumed for instead of ceasing, like fire when the fuel is burnt out, the desire ;

pines

away

in weariness, for

hunger

is

increased, and

food diminished. 5.

A

soul in this condition '

prophet,

He

hungry, and

thus described by the

is

shall turn to the right hand,

shall eat

on the

left

hand, and

and

shall

be

shall not

be

They who mortify not their desires are justly punished with hunger when they turn to the right hand,' that is, when they swerve from the way of God filled.'*

'

;

for they

and

do not deserve the fulness of His sweet '

justly also shall they

not be

filled,'

Spirit,

when they

'

eat

on the left hand,' that is, when they satisfy their desire with created things for then abandoning that which can alone satisfy them they feed on that which is the ;

source of greater hunger.

Thus, then,

is

it

clear that

the desires weary and fatigue the soul.

CHAPTER The

desires torment the soul.

VII. Proofs and illustrations.

THE

second positive evil which the desires inflict certain torment and affliction of soul, so that he

surfers

therefrom

chains, finding no

is

like

one in

*

Is. ix. 20.

*

a

who

bound with The cords of my

torture,

rest until released.

is


THE ASCENT

32 sins,'

that

As

a

man who

briars, so is the soul in the

and tear

pierce, torture,

They surrounded

fire

among

thorns/ f

the

increase

me

fire

|

naked amid thorns and

lies

power of it

I.

'have encom

my desires, saith the Psalmist,

is,

passed me.'*

'

[BOOK

its

desires

painfully, as

it

for they

;

is

written,

and they burned like The desires, which are as thorns, like bees,

of

and

affliction

As

trouble.

the

husbandman, greedy of the harvest, goads the oxen

at

the plough, so concupiscence goads the soul harnessed to its desires,

till it

desire of Dalila to

Samson so that

'

know

the secret of the strength of

him

giving him no time to rest,' his soul fainted away, and was wearied even '

she

;

Such was the

shall obtain its will.

pressed

unto death.'* 2.

The

desire tortures the soul in proportion to

and the

intensity, so that the pain equals the desires,

more numerous the

desires the greater the pain

words which the apostle heard are life.

'

As much

in delicacies, so her.'

As he

is

for the

:

even

in this

and lived

much torment and sorrow give ye tormented who falls into the hands

his enemies, so is the soul carried

This truth

fulfilled

as she hath glorified herself,

away by

its

its

to

of

desires.

foreshadowed in the history of Samson,

is

who was once so strong and free, the judge of Israel. But when he had fallen into the hands of his enemies, they robbed him of his great strength, plucked out his eyes, imprisoned

torturing

and

in a mill,

afflicting

whose enemies, *

him

Ps.

its

own

cxviii.

6l.

t Judg. xvi.

1 6.

him.

and made him '

So

desires, live t Ib.

is

it

and triumph

cxvii.

Apoc.

12.

xviii.

grind,'

with the soul,

7.

:

their


fCHAP. first

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

VII.]

act

is

to

weaken and blind the

imprisoning cords that bind

it,

33

soul,

then to torment

it

in the mill of concupiscence,

it

are

own

its

and the

desires themselves.

God, therefore, compassionating those who with so much toil and cost, go about to satisfy the hunger and 3.

thirst of their desires in created things, thus

speaks to '

them by the mouth of His prophet All you that thirst and desire come to the waters, and you that have no '

:

'

make

haste, buy and eat, come, buy without and milk,' peace spiritual sweetness, money,' of self-will, and 'without price,' without that labour which your desires demand. Why do you spend '

money,'

self-will,

wine and

'

'

'

of self-will

money

*

for that

the Spirit of God, and the

'

which

labour '

Me

desire,

and eat

'and your

We attain

shall

so-\l

to this fatness

satisfactions, for

4.

Come

of your desires

'

is,

for

'

?

be delighted in fatness.'*

when we abandon

all

created

pain and sorrow flow from the creature,

and refreshment from the '

not bread,' that

Hearken diligently you that which is good,' and which you

that which doth not satisfy

unto

is

'

Spirit of God.

to Me,' saith our Lord,

and are burdened, and

'

all

you that labour

I will refresh you.'f

All you

who

are tormented and afflicted, labouring beneath the burden of anxiety and desire, cast

and

I will refresh

you

;

it

aside,

by coming unto Me,

and your souls

shall find that

which your desires rob you, for, as the Psalmist they as a heavy burden are become heavy upon

rest of saith,

'

Me.';

Is.

D

Iv.

I.

2.

f

S.

Matt, xi

28.

t Ps. xxxvii- 5.


THE ASCENT

34

CHAPTER The

THE

VIII.

which the desires

blindness of soul.

I.]

Proofs and illustrations.

desires darken the soul.

third evil

[BOOK

inflict is

darkness and

For as vapours darken the

air,

and

hide the light of the sun, or as a stained mirror cannot

an image, or as muddy water cannot

clearly receive

distinctly reflect his face

stained

by

its

who

looks into

it,

so the soul,

intellectually blind, so that

desires, is

neither the understanding itself nor the sun of natural reason, nor that of the supernatural ir

.arm and enlighten

when he said, was not able to

'

it.

To

My iniquities And

see.'*

lectually blind, the will

wisdom of God, can

this the Psalmist referred

have overtaken me, and

I

thus, while the soul is intel

becomes

torpid, the

memory fails,

and every lawful function is disordered. These faculties depend on the intellect, and it is therefore clear that,

when

the intellect

is

embarrassed, they must

thrown into confusion and disorder. Psalmist,

*

is

'

My soul/

troubled exceedingly,' f that

faculties are in disorder

;

is,

all

be

says the all

my

for, as I have said, the intellect

in this state cannot receive the illumination of the divine

wisdom, just as the obscured air cannot reflect the bright The will cannot embrace God in pure

ness of the sun. love, just

as the stained mirror cannot represent an

object placed before

it.

The memory overclouded by

desires cannot calmly dwell

muddy water cannot into

on the image of God, just as

reflect the face of

him who looks

it. *

Ps. xxxix. 13.

t Ib.

vi.

4.


[CHAP.

The

2.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

VIII.]

35

and darkens the

desire also blinds

and unreasonable, and reason

desire, as such, is blind

that which ever guides the soul aright in

Hence

desires guide

it,

because

by one who saw not both were blind.

He

'

it is

as

if

whenever the

one who saw were led

the result being the

:

This

is

is

several acts.

what our Lord

same as

referred to

if

when

If the blind lead the blind, both fall into the

said,

pit.'*

its

that the soul becomes blind

is

it

soul, for the

Eyes are of

little

service to the moth,

desire for the beauty of the light leads

the midst of the flame.

He who

it

whose

dazzled into

gives the rein to his

desires may be likened to the fish dazzled by the light which the fishermen throw over the water, that the nets may not be seen in this case, light serves but to increase :

the obscurity.

meaning of the Psalmist when he said, Fire hath fallen upon them, and they have not seen the 3.

*

This

is

the

sun/f for the desire

and dazzling with in the soul

is,

that

is like fire,

its light, it

warming with

and the

its

heat,

effect of the desire

enkindles concupiscence, and dazzles

cannot

The cause

the intellect, so that

it

dazzling obscurity

the interposition of another light

is,

see.

of this

between the object and the eye, whereon the eye rests, so as to see nothing beyond. As the desire comes so close

and within the range of

to the soul,

dazzled, and

satisfied

with the light

its vision,

it

gives,

we

hides from us the clear light of the intellect, which

do not, and never shall shall

*

S.

Matt. xv. 14

it

we

see, until the glare of the desiro

have ceased.

D2

are

and so

t Ps.

Ivii.

9.


THE ASCENT

36

[BOOK

I.]

This renders so deplorable their ignorance who burden themselves with indiscreet penances, and other 4.

imprudent methods of devotion voluntary certainly on which they rely, thinking such alone, without morti fying their desires in other matters, to be sufficient to lead them on to the union of the divine wisdom. this

can never be,

If these persons

if

But

the desires be not diligently mortified.

bestowed but half their labour on

this,

they would make greater progress in a month than they can now make in many years, if they persevere in their present ways.

As

it is

necessary to

till

the earth that

it

bring forth fruit for otherwise nothing will grow therein but weeds so also is it necessary to mortify our desires, if we are to make progress towards perfection.

may

Without

mortification, I say

it

progress towards perfection, nor in

we

make no the knowledge of God

boldly,

shall

and of ourselves, notwithstanding all our efforts, any more than the seed will grow which is thrown away on unculti vated ground. Neither can the darkness and ignorance of our souls be removed, if the desires are not quenched :

for they are like a

mote or cataract

obstructing the vision, until 5.

souls

The

it

in the natural eye,

be taken away.

Psalmist, considering the blindness of those

which are under the power of

their desires, the

impossibility of their clearly beholding the truth, and

the greatness of God's anger with them, said, 'Before

your thorns could know the briar, He swalloweth them up, as alive, in His wrath.'* Before your thorns, your

harden and grow into a thicket, shutting out the sight of God, as the thread of life is frequently broken in

desires,

*

Ps.

Ivii.

io.


[CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

VIII.]

the midst thereof, so will

Those persons

anger.

God swallow them up

whom

in

hinder the knowledge of God,

His wrath, either

in the

37

next

in

His

their desires live,

and

God

life,

will

swallow up in

in the purifying pains

of purgatory, or in this, in afflictions and sufferings, sent to detach

them from

their desires, or in the mortification

God doeth

of those very desires voluntarily undergone. this to take self

and

away

the false light of desire between

which dazzles us and hinders us from

us,

knowing Him and

that, the intellect

;

Oh

that

becoming

clear,

be repaired.

the ravage of desire 6.

Him

may men knew how

great a blessing, that of

the divine light, this their blindness, the result of their desires, robs

them

and how great the

evils

they daily because they do not mortify them. are not to rely on a clear intellect, or on the gifts received from God, and then imagine that any affections or desires we of,

We

fall into,

may

indulge in will not blind us, nor cause us to

worse

into a

state, little

thought that a

man

by

little.

Who

fall

would have

of perfect wisdom, filled with the

Solomon was, could have fallen away in his old age into such blindness and the torpor of the will, as to build altars to so many idols and worship gifts of God, as

them

His

?

affection for his wives,

and the

in controlling his desires

heart,

he

were alone

tells

sufficient to

us himself, saying,

I refused

them

not,

and

I

'

and

his negligence

satisfactions of his

reduce him to

this.

Whatsoever my eyes withheld not

my

Such was the

So

desired,

heart from

effect upon enjoying every pleasure.'* Solomon of unbridled desires, and their gratification. * Eccles.

ii.

i(X


THE ASCENT

38

he was cautiou

[BOOK

I.]

they soon blinded his understanding, and at last put out the light of wisdom within him, so that in his old age he forsook

though at

first

And

God.

disaster in one,

who knew

good and

what

evil,

are so ignorant

is

we

as

it

shall they not produce in us

We

?

were

evil,

and

natural to us. are

desires

who

are like the people of Ninive, of

'They know not how * right hand and their left,'

take good for

when our

so well the difference between

said,

between their step,

;

unmortified desires could produce such a

if

whom God

.

to distinguish since, at every

good and this What, then, must it be evil for

added

;

our natural

to

blind

which the prophet bewailed, speaking of who love to follow after their desires We have

ness, but that

*

tlrose

:

gi oped for the wall,

as

if

we had no

darkness.'f

and

eyes,

Such

is

like the blind,

we have groped

we have stumbled at noon he who is blinded by his

for in the presence of the truth

and

cannot see them any more than

if

as

if

in

desires,

his real interests he

he had been utterly

blind.

CHAPTER The

THE

IX. Proofs from Scripture

desires pollute the soul.

fourth evil which the desires inflict on the soul

that they pollute toucheth. pitch

toucheth pitch

and

shall

who

defile

it,

as

it is

be defiled with satisfies

'

written, it.'

+

He

is

that

He, then,

the desires of the will in

any created thing. Observe here that the wise man compareth the creature with pitch for there is a greater :

*

Ion.

iv.

ii.

t

Is. lix.

10.

t Ecclc* *'.

I.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. IX.]

39

distance between the excellence of the soul and the

noblest creature than there

diamond or

fine

piece of gold,

becomes

foul

if

is

placed, heated, in contact with pitch

and stained

the soul inflamed

between the glittering As a diamond or a pitch.

gold and

in proportion to the heat, so

the desire

by

it

may

entertain for the

draws corruption therefrom and defilement. there is a greater difference between the soul and

creature,

And all

other created corporeal things than there

the most pellucid water and the foulest mud. as such water mingled with soul

whose

affections are set

polluted; for then

it

mud becomes

is

between So, then,

the

foul, so

on created things becomes

resembles them.

As

soot defiles

the most beautiful and perfect face, so the unruly desires of the soul,

which

is

if

in, defile

indulged

in itself the

and pollute that

soul,

most beautiful and perfect image of

God.

The prophet Jeremias, bewailing the ravages of corruption produced by these unruly desires, first of all 2.

describes the beauty of the soul

and then

its

defile

'Her Nazarites were whiter than snow, purer than milk, more ruddy than the old ivory, fairer than ment:

the sapphire

;

their face is

and they are not known

now made

blacker than coals,

in the streets.' *

The

hair of the

Xazarites signify the thoughts and affections of the soul,

which, ordered according to the law of God, that referred all to

is

Him, are 'whiter than snow, purer than

more ruddy than the old ivory, The whole physical creation sapphire.' milk,

and magnificence

is

signified *

Lara.

by

iv. 7, 8.

fairer

than the

in all its

beauty

these four things, and


THE ASCENT

40

higher than that

the soul of

all is

[BOOK

man and

its

operations

the Nazarites with their long hair

is,

I.]

which,

when

commandments of God, when occupied with created things, is now made

ordered, not according to the

that

is,

All this and far greater ruin befalls

blacker than coals.

the soul's beauty from the indulgence of unruly desires. 3.

if

So, then,

my

object were to describe the foul

and

corrupt condition to which the desires reduce the soul,

should not be able to find anything so

full

of cobwebs

and worms, not even corruption itself, wherewith For though the disordered soul in compare it. natural substance be as perfect as

I

God has made

it,

to its its

is foul, filthy, and dark, overladen and even more. Even one unruly

reasonable substance

with

these evils

all

desire

as I

mortal

sin, sullies

hereafter

shall

explain*

and deforms the

soul,

though not a and indisposes

be cast away. What, then, must be the corruption of that soul which is wholly disordered, which has abandoned itself to the it

for the perfect

union with God, until

and how

it

removed from the purity of God No language can describe, no understanding can comprehend, the diverse impurities which diverse

sway

of

its

desires,

far

?

desires produce in the soul. 4. If,

so that

indeed,

any description of

men might understand it,

wonder and

it

this could

be given,

would be a matter

for

each desire, according to its nature and intensity, deposits the filth and sediment of corruption and uncleanness in the soul, everyone in its for great pity

:

for

own way.

For as the soul of the

perfection,

which

is

just

man,

in

one single

the justice thereof, possesses in*

Ch.

xi.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. IX.]

41

and many virtues of exceeding beauty, everyone of them lovely, different from each other according to the multitude and variety of the acts numerable most rich

God

of the love ot

gifts,

;

so the disordered soul in the

same

way, according to the multitude of the desires, the object of which are created things, contracts a miserable diver

and impurity, with which these

sity of vileness

pollute

desires

it.

These diverse pollutions are described by the pro phet Ezechiel, when God showed him the interior of the temple with its walls painted round about with the like 5.

nesses of creeping things, and '

clean beasts

I

:

went in/

all

abominable and un

saith the prophet,

'

and saw,

and behold every form of creeping things, and of living creatures, the abomination and all the idols of the house of Israel were painted on the wall round about/*

seest,

O

had seen

God

When

'

Surely thou son ot man, what the ancients of the house of

the prophet

this,

said to him,

Israel do in the dark, everyone in private in his chamber.

Turn thee again thou shalt see greater abominations.' The prophet turned, and 'behold women sat there ;

mourning

for Adonis.'

'

Turn thee again/ said God

to

shalt see greater abominations ' the then than prophet saw at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, five-and-twenty men having their backs to the temple of

the prophet, these.'

'

and thou

And

the Lord.'f 6.

The various creeping things and unclean

beasts

painted on the walls of the temple within are the thoughts and conceptions of the intellect derived from the vile *

Kzech.

viii.

10.

f Ezech.

viii.

14, 16.


THE ASCENT

42 things of earth and

[BOOK

of other created things, which,

because contrary to those that are eternal,

temple of the soul

;

and the soul by means

barrasses the understanding, which

The women

'

second court.

in the

I.]

is

its

Mourning

defile

thereof, first

for

the

em

court.

Adonis

are the desires of the will, the second faculty of the soul

these weep, as

the will

is

it

were,

bent, that

is,

;

covet that on which

the unclean things painted on

The men

the understanding. fancies

when they

'

in the third court are the

and imaginations resulting from created objects

which the third faculty of the soul, the memory, preserves and dwells on. These had their backs to the temple of the Lord

:

for

when

the faculties of the soul have been

completely occupied with any object of earth, the soul itself may be said to have turned its back upon God's temple, which

is

right reason,

thing that is in opposition to 7.

Let this

suffice for the

into the foul disorder

For were divine

and which

which

varieties occasion

;

present to give us some insight

which desires engender these

in the soul.

hindrance to the

imperfections

and

of that of venial sin, which

greater than that of imperfections, and of

and also of mortal

no

God.

I to treat separately of the

union

tolerates

which

its

is

their

much

varieties

;

sin, complete defilement, and of its various forms, I should never come to an end. What

I

say

and

it

is

is

to the purpose it

be but the

desire, though darkens the soul, and hinders

its

is,

that every single

slightest imperfection,

perfect union with God.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. X.]

CHAPTER The

desires

make

43

X.

the soul lukewarm, and enfeeble virtue.

Proofs and illustrations.

THE

fifth evil inflicted

warmness and

on the soul by

feebleness, so that

it

its

desire

is

has no strength to

As

follow after virtue nor to persevere therein.

strength of desire

diminished

is

luke-

when

applied to

the

many

objects, instead of being concentrated upon one, and the

more numerous the

objects embraced, the less

is

the

energy with which each is sought, so philosophers say, is it with virtue, which is more vigorous when intent on

one object than when therefore, clear that

if

wasted upon more. It is, the desire of the will be directed to

must be very weak in the pur The soul whose will is divided among trifles,

other objects than virtue suit thereof. is

like

it

water which never

below, and

is

it

is

rises,

because

it

Thus

it

therefore profitless.

sin

was

that the

Ruben his son to water poured because he had given way to his desires in a certain Thou art poured out as water, grow thou not '* '

patriarch Jacob compared out,'

has an outlet

*

:

;

is, because thou art poured out as water in thy desires thou shalt not grow in virtue. As boiling water

that

left

uncovered quickly loses

its

heat,

and as aromatic

spices exposed to the air gradually lose their fragrance

and the strength of

their perfume, so the soul not re

collected in the love of

God

alone loses the heat and

This truth was well understood by the Psalmist when he said, 'I will keep my strength to

vigour of virtue.

Thee,'t that affections

is,

I will concentrate the strength of

en Thee alone. *

Gen.

xlix. 4.

t

Ps.

Iviii.

IO,

my


THE ASCENT

44 2.

The

I.]

desires enfeeble the soul, for they are like the

twigs and suckers which grow on a tree, sapping

little

its

[BOOK

strength so that

it

shall not '

souls our Saviour says

:

and that give suck

child,

the desires, which,

if

Woe

not cut

Of

fruitful.

suclv

unto them that are with

in those days/ * off,

the strength of the soul, and

suckers on a tree.

be so

This signifies

will continually lessen

grow

Our Lord,

to

be

its ruin, like

therefore,

warns

the us,

'Let your loins be girt.'f The loins are the they are also like leeches sucking the blood from the veins, for so the wise man calls them, saying, saying,

desires

'

;

The horse

leech hath two daughters,' the desires,

'

that

say, bring, bring.' 3. It

is,

therefore, evident that the desires bring

at all to the soul, but rather deprive

of what

no

has, good and if we do not mortify them, they will not rest until they have done what the young vipers are said to do to their

mother

these, as they

:

grow

own

life

at the cost of hers.

desires

grow and devour the

within

it.

They

man

her, preserving

Thus the unmortified

soul, killing the life of

God

alone live in that soul, because that

soul has not destroyed

the wise

kill

it

womb, devour

in the

the entrails of their mother, and their

it

them

This

first.

pray: 'Take from

me

it is

that

made

the greediness ot

the belly.' 4.

But even

calamity,

it

is

if

the desires do not issue in this great

lamentable to see

how how

they torture the

hateful to itself poor soul in which they dwell they render it, how profitless to its neighbours, how dull *

S. Matt. xxiv. 19.

J Prov. xxx.

15.

t

S.

Luke

xii.

35.

Eccles. xxiii. 6.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XI.]

and

slothful in the things of

45

There are no corrupt

God.

humours which can so bow down a sick man, enfeeble him in his gait, and make him loathe his proper food, as the desire of the creature

bows down the

arid indisposes it for the practice

general, the reason clination for virtue

desires

why many is,

soul in sadness,

f virtue.

souls have

And,

no love or

that they entertain affections

in in

and

which are not innocent nor directed towards our

Lord God

CHAPTER The

XI.

necessity of freedom from all desires,

however

slight, for

the

divine union.

IT seems reasonable here for the reader to ask, whether

be necessary to mortify completely every desire, small and great, before perfection can be reached, or whether it

it

will

be enough

looking others

because

it is

have mortified some of them, over least those which seem of less moment

to

at

a matter most

difficult to attain to

such

pureness and detachment, as to have no affection for

anything remaining in the 2.

To this

will.

I reply: in the first place, it is true that all the

desires are not equally hurtful, neither

the soul in the

same degree.

I

am

do they

all

perplex

speaking of those

which are voluntary for the natural desires, when we do not consent to them, and when they do not pass beyond the first movements, do but slightly or not at all :

stand in the

of union.

ments

those in

I

way mean all

By

natural and

which the rational

first

move

will

had no


THE ASCENT

[BOOK

sKare, either before or after they arose

mortify these completely

is,

in this

hindrance which these create

is

may

;

they

soul in

For

may

state,

free

and yet the from them.

sometimes happen that the soul enjoys the

will

it

not be wholly morti

may be most

part

The

not such as to prevent

remain in their natural

its spiritual

banish and

impossible.

life,

the divine union, though they fied

for to

:

I.]

profound union of quiet in the will, while these remain in the sensual portion of man's nature, but having no

communication with the

occupied in

spiritual portion

prayer.

But all the other voluntary desires, whether of mortal

3.

which are the most grievous, or of venial sins, which are less so, or imperfections only, which are still sins,

less so,

must be banished away, and the soul which to perfect union must be delivered from

would attain

them this

:

all,

however

slight they

may

The reason

be.

is

the state of divine union consists in the total

transformation of the will into the will of God, in such a

way that every movement of the will shall be always the movement of the will of God only. This is the reason why, in this state, two wills are said to be one my will and God's will so that the will of God is also that of the soul.

But

if

the soul then cleaves to any imperfection,

contrary to the will of

God

soul wills that which fore, that, if

the soul

God, His will

is

to

wills not.

be united

God, every desire of the will away, however slight

it

;

It is clear, there

in love

must

may be

not done, for the

is

first

that

and will with

of

is,

all

we must not

and knowingly assent with the will imperfection, and we must have such power over deliberately

be ca st

to it,

any and


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

{CHAP. XI.]

47

such liberty, as to reject every such desire the moment we are aware of it. I say knowingly, for without de

and a

liberation

or because

what we are doing,

not wholly in our power,

to imperfections

way

give

it is

clear perception of

and venial

we may

sins,

and

natural desires of which I have just spoken. sins as these, not so entirely voluntary, that

'A

just

man

shall

fall

seven

It is of such it is

and

times,

easily

to those

written

:

shall rise

again. 4.

But as

desires,

how

slight soever their objects

of them, not overcome, I

am

and perfect deliberate may be, any one

to those voluntary

is sufficient

to prevent this union.

speaking of the unmortified habit thereof, because have not so much power, for

certain acts occasionally

the habit of

them

is

not settled;

still

we must

get rid

of them, for they, too, proceed from habitual imper fection.

Some

habits of voluntary imperfections, so far

as they are never perfectly overcome, hinder not only the

divine union but our progress towards perfection.

These habitual imperfections are, for instance, much talking, certain attachments, which we never resolve to 5.

break through such as to individuals, to a book or a cell, to a particular food, to certain society, the satisfac tion of one's taste, science, news, and such things.

Everyone of these imperfections, if the soul is attached and habituated to them, results in serious injuries to our growth and progress in goodness. daily into

many

Yea, even

if

we

fall

other imperfections greater than these,

provided they are not the result of the habitual indul

gence of any

evil inclination, *

we should

Piov. xxiv.

1

6.

not be so

much


THE ASCENT

48

[BOOK

I

]

hindered in our spiritual course as we are by this selfish attachment of the soul to particular objects for while ;

the soul entertains

it, it is

useless to

hope that

we can

ever attain to perfection, even though the object of our

attachment be but of the slightest importance possible. 6.

Does

it

make any difference whether a bird be held by

a slender thread or

and cannot is

fly till

rope, while the bird

the cord that holds

true that a slender thread

notwithstanding,

This it

by a

is

if it is

is

more

it is

is

bound

broken

easily broken,

?

It

still,

not broken the bird cannot

fly.

the state of a soul with particular attachments

:

never can attain to the liberty of the divine union, it may possess. Desires and attach

whatever virtues

ments ship

affect the soul as the

that

;

vessel 7.

it

is

but a

little fish,

remora yet

is

when

said to affect a it

clings to the

effectually hinders its progress.

How

freighted,

sad

it is

full

of

and

to see certain souls, like vessels richly

good works, of

spiritual

exercises,

God, which, because they have not the courage to break with certain tastes, attachments, or affections these are all one never reach the haven of virtues

gifts of

perfect union.

And

vigorous flight to

yet

it

would cost them but a single

break the thread of their attachment

or to shake off the remora of desire.

It is

a matter of

deep regret, when God has given them strength to burst other and stronger bonds those of vanity and sins

merely because they will not detach themselves from trifles, which God has left for them to break away from for love of

thread

Him, and which are no more than a

that they should for this

neglect

single

their

own

advancement and the attainment of so great a blessing.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XI.]

And what

is

still

49

more deplorable, because of such

attachments, not only do they not advance, but, so far as perfection

is

fall

concerned, they

back, losing in

some

measure what they had already gained with so much For it is well known that on the spiritual road

labour.

not to go on overcoming self not to increase our gain

This

8. *

He

is

is

to

is

go backwards, and

to lose.

what our Lord would teach us

me

that gathereth not with

will neglect to repair

the vessel that

cracked, will at last lose

all

when He

scattereth.' *

the liquor

says,

He who

but slightly may hold for

is it

;

words of the preacher he that contemneth small ' things shall fall by little and little f and of one spark cometh a great fire.' + Thus one imperfection is enough '

in the

'

:

to beget another,

and

this other, others again.

We

shall

hardly ever see a soul, negligent in overcoming a single desire, which has not also many other desires arising out of the weakness and imperfection from which the

first

proceeds. There have been many persons who, by the grace of God, had made great progress in detachment

and freedom, and yet because they gave way, under the pretence of some good as of society and friendship to petty attachments, have thereby lost the spirit and sweetness of God, holy solitude, and cheerfulness, and

have injured the integrity of their spiritual exercises, so as to be unable to stop before all was gone. All this has

them because they did not root out the principle of pleasure and of the sensual desires, keeping them befallen

selves in solitude for God.

We

9. *

S.

B

must ever walk on

Matt.

xii.

30.

this

t Eccles. xix.

road so as to reach the I.

%

Ibid.

xi.

34.


THE ASCENT

50

end

;

that

and not

[BOOK

I.]

in the constant repression of our desires,

is,

in their indulgence

repress them we

:

and

if

we do

not perfectly

As

shall never perfectly reach the end.

wood can never be transformed

into fire

if

but one

degree of heat necessary for that end be wanting, so the soul that has but one imperfection can never be transformed

perfectly

explain

when speaking

has but one will rassed,

in

is

it

and

;

not

God,

as

shall

I

of the night of faith.*

if this

will

hereafter

The

soul

be occupied or embar

free, perfect, solitary,

and pure, as

it

ought to be for this divine transformation. This truth is foreshadowed in the book of Judges, where we read that

an angel of the Lord came to the children of Israel and told them that, because they had not destroyed the in habitants of the land, but had

would be

of them, these, therefore,

and an occasion

their enemies,

destruction

' :

from before your face, gods may be your

He He He

God

is

to

a league with some

among them

left

them of their

fall

as

and

would not destroy them that you may have enemies, and

Wherefore

their

10.

made

I

ruin.' f

whom Egypt of this world, for whom

just in thus dealing with those souls

has led forth out of the

has slain the giants of their sins, and whose enemies has destroyed, which are the occasions of sin which

they meet with in the world, and all this for the sole purpose of their entrance into the promised land of the

He

pivine union.

them, when He

is just,

sees

I say, in

them form

thus dealing with

friendships,

and become

confederate with the heathen, which are their imper fections

;

when they do *

Bk.

ii.

4.

not mortify themselves wholly, t Judges

ii.

3.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XII.]

51

but are negligent and slothful in their lives

for this,

:

He becomes

angry with them, and suffers them to fall through their desires from bad to worse. 11. This truth is also shadowed forth in the command ot then,

God

to Josue

when

the children of Israel were about to

The city of Jericho was was within, man and

enter into the land of promise. to

be utterly destroyed and

woman, young and

old,

that

all

together with the cattle

and

;

the people were not to take, nor even to touch any of the spoil thereof.*

will enter into the

He, therefore, that

divine union must put to death

all

that lives in his soul,

whether small or great, many or few he must abstain from all desire thereof, and be completely detached ;

therefrom, as

if

12. St. Paul, '

thing it

:

neither existed for the other.

writing to the Corinthians, says the same

This therefore

I say, brethren, the

remaineth, that they also

time

is

short

who have wives be

as

:

if

they had none, and they that weep, as though they wept not,

and they that

rejoice as if they rejoiced not,

and

they that buy as though they possessed not, and they that use this world as if they used it not.' f The apostle teaches here that

world

if

we must be detached

we would walk

so as to attain unto God.

CHAPTER The I

XII.

nature of those desires which suffice to injure the soul.

MIGHT have spoken

sense,

in spirit from the

at greater length of the night oi

much may be

as *

Josut

vi.

1

8,

21.

said of the evil which the t

1

Cor.

vii.

29-31


THE ASCENT

52

desires occasion, not only in the

many

others as well

because

it is

now

;

but this

clear

is

[BOOK

way

night in 2.

described, but in

enough

for

my

the mortification of

why

and how necessary it is order to draw near unto God.

called night,

I.]

purpose,

them

is

to enter into this

One thing only remains for discussion before I speak way by which this night is entered upon, and so

of the

namely, a doubt which might be suggested to the reader by the matter in hand. It might be asked, in the first place, whether any desire be enough conclude this book

produce in the soul these positive and negative evils of which I have spoken, and in the second place, whether to

any

however

desire,

to

all

and of whatever kind, be

slight,

these five evils together, or whether

enough produce each desire produces a distinct evil, as one desire weari ness, another pain, and another darkness. 3.

To this I reply as follows

speaking of the negative

evil,

:

In the

first

place, if we are

which consists

in the soul's

being deprived of God, it is only those voluntary desires which are the matter of mortal sin that can, and do, result in this

and

in the

And

in the

:

for these rob the soul in this life of grace,

next of glory, which

is

the fruition of God.

second place, that all desires, which are the matter of mortal sin, and those voluntary desires, which are matter of venial sin, and those which are imperfec tions, are,

everyone of them, enough to

the positive evils.

These

evils,

inflict

on the soul

in

one sense

though

negative, are here called positive, because they corres

a turning towards the creature, as the negative evils correspond to a turning away from God.

pond

to


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XII.] 4.

There

53

however, this difference those desires which :

is,

are matter of mortal sin produce complete blindness,

and weakness. But those other desires,

pain, impureness,

matter of venial

sin,

or

known

imperfection, do not pro

duce these evils in this perfect and supreme degree, see ing that they do not cast the soul out of the state ot grace for the loss of grace is concurrent with the dominion of these evils over the soul, because their life consists :

in the death of grace.

Still

they occasion -somewhat ot

these evils, though but remissly, proportional to that

weakness and remissness which they generate in the soul so that the particular desire which most weakens ;

the soul ness.

most

is

But

generates there are

it is

to

be remarked

blindness and impure-

that,

these evils, which

all

some which

ticular evils, is

fruitful in pain,

and other

chiefly

and

we

though every desire here call positive,

directly produce par

evils incidentally.

For though

it

true that one sensual desire produces all these evils,

yet

its

and proper fruit is the defilement of soul and Though one avaricious desire also produces all

chief

body.

these evils, yet

Though one

its

principal and direct result

is

trouble.

vainglorious desire, precisely like the rest,

produces all these evils, yet its chief and immediate effect is darkness and blindness. And, though one gluttonous desire issues in the result is

weakness

same

evils,

yet

still its

primary direct

in those things that pertain to virtue.

The same may be said of all other desires. 5. The reason why any act of voluntary desire produces all

these evils in the soul together,

is

that contrariety

which subsists directly between it and those acts of virtue which result in opposite effects. As an act of virtue pro-


THE ASCENT

54

[BOOK

I.]

duces and generates in the soul sweetness, peace, conso lation,

pureness, and fortitude together,

light,

so an

unruly desire begets pain, fatigue, weariness, blindness, All virtues increase by the practice of

and weakness. each

so also vices thrive and grow,

;

and

their effects in

same way. Though all these evils are then when the desire is gratified, because the

the soul in the

not visible

satisfaction thereof furnishes at the time for them, yet afterwards the evil results visible.

For the

when

desire,

no opportunity become clearly

it is fulfilled, is

sweet,

and

appears good, but afterwards the effects thereof are found to

be

bitter,

which

is

the experience of everyone

suffered himself to be led

who has

away thereby. I am not ignor some so blind and so insen

ant, however, that there are

they do not walk in the ways of God, and therefore see not that which hinders their

sible as not to feel this

:

drawing near unto Him. 6.

I

am not speaking here of those

other natural desires

which are involuntary, nor of thoughts which do not go beyond the first movements, nor of other temptations to which we consent not, because none of these produce any of the evils I describe. Though a person liable to these trials

may imagine

that the passion

ance thus occasioned darken and it

is

not so

and disturb

defile his soul, in reality

yea, rather the contrary effects are

some

times the result of them.

Because, in proportion to the resistance offered, such an one gains strength, pureness,

and many other good things, according the words of our Lord to St. Paul Virtue is made

light, consolation, to

'

:

But voluntary desires produce

petifect in infirmity.'* *

2 Cor.

xii.

9.


[CHAP. these

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

XIII.]

and more

penitents,

and

For

evils.

of spiritual directors

55

this cause the chief solicitude

to mortify the desires of their

is

make them deny themselves

to

in all that

pleasing to them, so as to deliver them from so great

is

misery.

CHAPTER How

the soul enters by faith into the night of sense.

now remains

IT

the soul arily,

XIII.

for

may be

me

to give

some

directions

able to enter this night of sense. Ordin

the soul enters this night in two

active way, the other is the passive.

by which the soul

that

efforts of its

by which

own

is

ways one is the The active way is :

able to make, and does make,

to enter in, assisted

by divine

grace.

speak in the instructions that follow. The is that in which the soul does nothing as ot passive way itself, neither does it make therein any efforts of its own

Of this

I shall

;

but

is

it

the soul

Of

God who works is,

as

it,

giving special aids, and

were, patient, freely consenting thereto.

it

this I shall

in

speak when treating of the dark night,

speak of those who are beginners. And as I shall have then to give many counsels to such with

where

I shall

reference to the liable

on

now.

imperfections to which they are

many

on that question not the place to do so, for I am

this road, I shall not enlarge

Besides, this

is

now concerned only with is

the reasons

called night, with the nature

But as

it

seems a

defect,

this

journey

and divisions of the same.

and not so profitable as

it

should

from furnishing some help or instruc this night of the desires, I have deter-

be, to abstain here

tions proper for

why


THE ASCENT

56

mined

to lay

down

shall adopt the

[BOOK

I.]

the brief instruction following.

same course

I

at the conclusion of each of

these divisions or causes of this night, of which by the

help of our Lord I undertake to speak. 2. These instructions for the subduing of our desires are, opinion, though brief and few, as profitable and

my

in

He who

effectual as they are brief.

practice will

need none others,

for

will reduce

them

to

they include every

thing.

3

Be

1.

continually careful and earnest in imitating

Christ in everything, conforming thyself to His

life

:

for

this end thou must meditate thereon, that thou mayest know how to imitate it, and conduct thyself in all things

as

He 4

would have done Himself.

2.

To do

this well, every satisfaction offered to the

senses, which is not for God's honour and glory, must be renounced and rejected for the love of Jesus Christ,

Who

and sought, no other pleasure than was His meat,* as

in this life had,

doing the will of His Father, which

He

tells

For

us Himself.

listening to anything

God

presents

ear to what able in

itself,

is said.

itself,

instance, if the pleasure of

which tends not

of things which do not lead thee nearer

to God, seek not that pleasure, sight.

other

Do

to the service of

seek not that pleasure, neither give If thou art offered the sight, pleasur

the

same also

and abstain from that

conversation and every Practise the same mortifica

in

commerce of society.

tion with respect to the other senses, as far as possible

and

if it

be not possible,

the pleasure that

it

will

is offered. *

S.

John

Thus the iv.

;

be enough not to seek

34.

mortification oj


[CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

XIII.]

57

the senses and the absence of all pleasure must be striven after, so that the soul

The

be as in darkness.

may

practice of this counsel will bring with

it

great profit

in a short time.

In order to mortify and calm the four natural passions of joy, hope, fear, and grief, from the concord and tran5.

quility of

which

result these

and other great advantages,

the following instructions are a perfect

merit and the source of great virtues 6.

means

:

Strive always, not after that which

but after that which

Not which

Not

most

is

most easy,

difficult.

most pleasant, but

after that

which giveth pleasure, but

after that

which

after that is

is

of great

is

most unpleasant.

after that

which giveth none.

Not

after that

which

is

consoling, but after that which

is afflictive.

Not

after that

which ministers repose, but

after that

which ministers labour.

Not

after great things, but after little things.

Not

after that

that which

is

which

is

higher and precious, but after

lower and despised.

Strive not to desire anything, but rather nothing.

Seek not which

is

after that

which

is

better,

but after that

worse, and desire to be detached from

all

empty and poor for Christ's sake. This state is be embraced with a perfect heart, and the will must to

things,

conform thereto. in these efforts,

we

Because

if

our heart be truly engaged

shall in a short time attain to great


THE ASCENT

58

[BOOK

I.]

joy and consolation therein, doing our work orderly with discretion. 7.

These

instructions, well acted upon, are sufficient for

But

our entrance on the night of sense.

still,

out of the

abundance of the matter, I will give another method, which teaches us how to mortify truly the desire of honour, from which so many others proceed. 8

1.

Do

those things which bring thee into contempt,

and desire that others 2.

may do

Speak disparagingly of

may do

others 3.

also

them.

thyself,

and contrive that

so too.

Think humbly and contemptuously of

thyself,

and

desire that others may do so also.

9

I

think

it

fitting, in conclusion, to insert

summit of Mount

the

instructions for

ascending

Carmel, which

the high estate of union.

is

doctrine they contain

is

to

spiritual

and

Though

interior,

also to the spirit of imperfection in sensible

things, which

here certain

the

relates

it

and exterior

be met with in the two roads on

may way of perfection.

either side of the

We shall, therefore,

take these sentences in this sense, namely, as referring to sensible things,

of the night,

which 10

we

is spiritual. 1.

and afterwards, in the second them as referring

shall take

They

division to that

are these

That thou mayest have pleasure

in everything,

seek pleasure in nothing. 2.

That thou mayest know everything, seek

to

know

nothing. 3.

That thou mayest possess

nothing.

all things,

seek to possess


OF MOUNT CAKMEL.

[CHAP. XIII.]

59

That thou mayest be everything, seek

4.

to

be nothing.

That thou mayest attain to that in which thou hast no pleasure, thou must walk there where thou hast no 5.

pleasure. 6.

not,

That thou mayest attain to that which thou knowest thou must go through that which thou knowest not.

That thou mayest attain to that which thou possessest not, thou must go through that which thou 7.

possessest not.

That thou mayest attain to that which thou thou must go through that which thou art not. 8.

11. Instructions 1.

When

thou

how

art not,

not to impede the All.

dwellest

upon anything, thou hast

ceased to cast thyself upon the All. 2.

Because

in order to arrive

hast to deny thyself wholly in 3.

keep

And when it

from

all to

the All, thou

all.

thou comest to attain the All, thou must

without desiring anything.

thou wilt keep anything with the All, thou hast not thy treasure simply in God. 4.

12.

Because

if

In detachment the spirit finds quiet and repose,

coveting nothing, nothing wearies it by elation, and nothing oppresses it by dejection, because it stands in for

the centre of

anything

its

it is

own

humility

;

for as

soon as

immediately fatigued thereby.

it

covets


THE ASCENT

60

CHAPTER

[BOOK

I.]

XIV.

Explanation of the second line of the stanza.

With anxious

Now that

I

love inflamed.

have explained the

first line

of the stanza,

which relates to the sensual night, and described what the night of sense is, and why it is called night, and

have also shown how we are to enter way,

it

remains for

me

it

here to treat of

in the active its

wonderful

properties and effects, which are described in the follow

touch but lightly upon them, as I promised in the prologue, and pass on at once to

ing lines of this stanza.

I

the second book, which describes the other, the spiritual, division of this night.

The words The inflamed.' 2.

of the soul then are, 'with anxious love soul has passed out

and gone

forth in

the dark night of sense to the union of the Beloved. For, in order to overcome our desires, and to deny our selves in all things, our love

wont so

are

we

and inclination

to inflame the will that

it

for

which

delights therein,

require another and greater fire of another and nobler

love

that of the Bridegroom

so that having all our joy

Him, and deriving from Him all our gain such resolution and courage as

in

easily to

strength, shall

we may

enable us

abandon and deny all besides. It was neces subdue our sensual desires, not only to

sary, in order to

have

Bridegroom, but also to be on fire For the fact is, that therewith, and that with anxiety. our sensual nature is influenced by such vehement this love for the


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XV.]

61

and attracted by sensible objects, that if our spiritual nature were not on firo with other and nobler desires,

anxieties for that which

anxieties

is

we should

spiritual

never overcome our natural and sensible satisfactions,

nor be able to enter on the night of sense, neither should we have the courage to remain in the darkness, in the denial of every desire. 3.

The nature and

which the soul

feels

varieties of these anxieties of love, in the

beginning of the way of

union, the carefulness and the contrivances that

it

may go

will, into

forth out of its

own

it

employs

house, which

is self-

the night of the mortification of the senses

;

how

easy, and even pleasant, these longings for the Bride groom make the toils and dangers of that night this is not the place to explain, neither, indeed, can it be done ;

be felt and meditated upon description so I shall pass on to the

for these things are rather to

than matters for

:

explanation of the other lines in the following chapter.

CHAPTER XV. Explanation of the

O HAPPY now

lot

!

at rest/

forth

This

unobserved is

last lines.

I went,

being a metaphor derived from the

He who

miserable condition of slavery. therefrom, pronounces his

own

original

is

a happy lot

of his jailers hinder his release. sin, is

my house

The

soul,

delivered

when none because of

truly a prisoner in this mortal body, in

the power of natural passions and desires, and therefore

counts

it

a happy

lot

when

it

has gone forth unobserved


THE ASCENT

62

[BOOK

I.]

from this slavery and subjection, that is, unimpeded and unembarrassed by all its desires. To effect this, it was

advantageous for the soul to have departed night, in the denial of every pleasure,

and

in the

dark

in the mortifi

cation of every desire.

'My house being now at rest,' that is, the sensual part the soul, the house of the desires being now at rest,

2.

of

because those desires are overcome and lulled to sleep.

For

until the desires

tion of sensuality,

them, so that

it

be lulled to sleep by the mortifica itself be mortified in

and sensuality

shall

be contrary to the

spirit

no more,

the soul cannot go forth in perfect liberty to the fruition 01

the union with the Beloved.


[CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

I.]

BOOK

63

II.

PROXIMATE MEANS OF UNION, FAITH. NIGHT OF THE SPIRIT.

CHAPTER STANZA In darkness^ and

By

THE SECOND

I.

II.

in safety

',

the secret ladder, disguised,

O happy lot! In darkness and concealment,

My

house being

now

at

the soul sings of that

HERE detachment tions,

and

rest.

happy

lot,

attained

selfish desires in spiritual things.

a happiness so

by

of spirit from all spiritual imperfec

much

This was

the greater, because of the great

ness of the difficulty which the soul had to encounter in

and

tranquilizing the house of the spiritual part,

in

an entrance into the interior darkness, which spiritual detachment from all things, as well sensual

effecting is

as spiritual, leaning only on a living faith

speak ordinarily, because are walking in the

I

it is

of this I

have to do with those who

way of perfection

and by

it

ascending

upwards unto God. 2.

steps

This

is

here called a secret ladder, because

and divisions of

and the understanding.

it

all

the

are secret, hidden from sense

Thus the

to all natural light of sense

soul

is

in darkness as

and understanding, going


THE ASCENT

64 forth

[BOOK

II.]

and of reason, that it divine ladder of the faith which

limits of nature

beyond the

ascend by this reaches and penetrates into the heights of God. Hence the soul is said to have gone forth in disguise, because

may

was

natural condition

its

And

faith.

upwards by

divinely changed, ascending

this disguise

was the cause why

was unobserved, unimpeded by the things of time or reason, and by the devil himself for none of these can it

:

hurt the soul while travelling onwards by living faith.

This

3.

is

not

all

the soul travels in such secrecy and

:

concealment, and the devil with his wiles of

so ignorant

is

way, that it journeys. truly, as it is here said, 'in darkness and concealment,' so far as the evil one is con its

cerned,

the light of the faith

Thus the

darkness.

walk

whom

to

soul,

which thus walks,

is

said to

devil, as I shall

more

said that the soul

went

hidden from the

in darkness,

more than

is

clearly explain hereafter.'*

This

4.

forth

'

is

the reason

in darkness

and

why

is

it

For he

in safety.'

to

whom

is

granted the happiness of walking in the darkness of the faith, having faith for his guide, walks in the utmost security

when he goeth

forth

beyond

all

natural

And so it is imaginations and spiritual reasonings. that the soul forth in the went added, spiritual night, '

my

house being

union,

at rest,' that

When

spiritual parts. its

now

natural

is,

the rational and

the soul attains to the divine

powers,

impulses,

anxieties in the spiritual part, are at rest. fore,

and It

sensible is,

there

not said here that the soul went forth anxiously, as

in the first

night of sense, because the anxieties of *

Dark Night, Book

ii.,

ch. 21.


[CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

I.j

sensible love were necessary for a

65 perfect departure

then, so as to journey in the night of sense,

detached from

But

objects of the same.

all

and

to

in order to

perfect the tranquility of the house of the spirit,

more

is

required than the confirmation of

of the soul, all

united with the

is

Beloved in a certain union of simplicity, pureness, and resemblance. In the

7.

went

soul

first

'

of the spiritual part

be,

still

;

in darkness,' is

and

here, speaking of

because this darkness

greater, as darkness is a deeper

gloom than that of the night

may

love,

stanza, speaking of the sensual part, the

forth in a dark night

the spiritual part,

night

no

the powers

all

pleasures and spiritual desires, in

This done, the soul

faith.

pure

its

be

for,

;

something

however, gloomy the but in darkness

is visible,

Thus, in the night of sense, there still some light, because the understanding and the reason also, which are not blind. But remains, nothing remains

is visible.

in this spiritual night, the night of faith, all is darkness,

both in the understanding and the sense. The soul says that it went forth in darkness and in safety,' which it '

said not in the first stanza, soul,

when

it

least uses its

most securely, because

it

and the reason

own proper

walks most by

is

that the

ability, travels

faith.

matter at great length in the present book, to which I request the benevolent atten tion of the devout reader, because it will contain things I

shall explain

this

most important to the truly they are the

way

spiritual

man.

somewhat obscure, yet one question to another, so that, as I believe, all

understood.

Though will

open be well will


THE ASCENT

66

CHAPTER The second

part, or

why I

HAVE now

faith

goal,

which which

it is

[BOOK

II.]

II.

cause of this night

Faith.

darker than the

and

first

Two

reasons

third.

to treat of the second part of this night is

that wonderful

God, Who, as

is

means

of reaching the

I said,* is also to the soul,

naturally, the third cause or division of this

night.

Faith, which is the mean, is compared to midnight, and thus it may be said, that faith is to the soul darker than

the

first part,

and

in a

way

also darker than the third

for the first part, that of the senses, is like the

of night, is

when

:

beginning and

sensible objects cease to be visible,

not so far removed from light as midnight

is.

The

which immediately precedes daybreak,

third part, that

is

not so dark as midnight, because the clear night of

morning

is

at

hand

;

this is

compared with God.

Though it is true, speaking after the manner of men that God is as dark a light to the soul as faith, yet because God Himself, when the three divisions of this night are over soul illumines

which are naturally the night of the it

supernaturally with the rays of the

and nobler way, experimentally the commencement of the perfect union which

divine light in a higher

which ensues

be

is

when

less dark.

is past it may be said to darker than the first part, which

the third night It is also

relates to the lower, the sensual, nature of

consequently the more exterior.

The second

man, and night, of

faith, relates to the higher, to the rational, nature *

Bk.

i.

ch.

ii.

of


[CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

III.]

man, and

is

therefore

more

interior

67

and obscure, because

deprives- us of the light of reason, or rather, to speak more clearly, makes it blind. Thus the comparison it

and midnight is made good for that is the most obscure and most perfect portion of the night. between

it

:

have now to show how

I

night of faith

is

this

second division

the night of the

spirit, as the

the first

the night of sense, and then what those things are which are contrary to it, and how the soul is to be division

is

disposed actively for entering into passive way, which

For as

to the

work of God, I reserve it for the third book of this treatise.

the

is

another opportunity

it.

for

CHAPTER

III.

Faith, the dark night of the soul.

and the Holy

Proofs from reason

Scriptures.

FAITH, according to theologians, is a habit of the soul, certain and obscure. The reason why it is an obscure habit

that

is

it

makes us

Himself has revealed reason,

believe the truths which

truths surpassing the light of

and beyond the reach of

standing.

Hence

faith is obscure

that which

is

it

is

all

human under

that the excessive light of the

darkness to the soul, because

great,

God

it

and destroys that which

subdues is

little,

as the light of the sun puts out all other lights so that

they appear not, and subdues our power of vision. As the sun blinds the eyes and robs them of the vision

which with,

it

gives, because its

own

light is out of proportion

and stronger than, our power of F2

sight, so the light


THE ASCENT

68

of faith, by reason of

its

standing-,

II.]

mode

in

greatness and the

which God communicates

which

[BOOK

it,

transcends

under

our

in itself reaches only to natural

know

ledge, though gifted with the power of obeying in thai which is supernatural when it is the will of our Lord to it

bring

The understanding, know nothing but in a natural

to a supernatural action.

therefore, can of

itself

way, the beginning of which is in the senses, and in no other way. For this end it retains the forms and species of objects either in themselves or in their resemblances; for as the philosophers say,

and the

object 2.

If a

faculty.

results

knowledge

from an

Ab objecto et potentia paritur notitia.

man were told of things he knows nothing of, and

the like of

which he has never seen, no

light could

be

thrown on them, so far as he is concerned, any more than if they had never been spoken of in his presence.

For

instance, if

you were

island an animal which

it

it

is

you have never

in a certain

seen,

and no

were given you, so that you might com with other animals, your knowledge of it, or what

description of

pare

told that there

resembles,

it

is

not greater than

it

would have been

you had never been told of it. I will give another illustration which will make the matter still more clear if

:

if is

a person blind from his birth that one object white, another yellow, he would never understand

you

tell

what you mean, though you may speak

to

him

for ever,

because he has never seen such colours or anything like them, so as to have any opinion on the subject. The

word colour only will remain with him, because that reaches him through the ear, but the form and figure thereof escape

him because he has never seen them

.


[CHAP,

Such

3.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

rrr.]

is faith

not exact in

all

to the soul,

points

;

63

though the resemblance is we have

faith tells us of things

never seen, of things of which we had no previous knowledge, either in themselves or in aught resembling them, and to which we never could have attained but by

The

revelation.

of natural

light

knowledge cannot

inform us of these things, because they are out of pro know them portion with our natural senses.

We

because

we have heard

of them, believing that which thr

teaches us, subjecting thereto our natural light,

faith

and making ourselves blind before it for, as it is said by St. Paul, 'faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by :

the

word of

entereth in

the

Christ.'

by any

soul to that

*

Faith

is

not

knowledge that

of the senses, but rather the ascent of

which

cometh by hearing.

Faith,

therefore, far transcends the foregoing illustrations

not only does

for

:

not produce evidence or knowledge, but, as I have said, it transcends and surpasses all other it

knowledge whatever, so that perfect contemplation alone may judge of it. Other sciences are acquired by the light of the understanding, but that of faith is acquired

without

own

it,

by

rejecting

Therefore

light.

for faith,

it

said

is

it

by

and

it is

lost in its

Isaias, 'If

you

will

not believe you shall not understand.' f 4. It is it is

soul the

a dark night to the soul, and light the more it darkens the

evident that faith

thus that

it

gives

more does

it

is

;

enlighten it. It is by darkening that it gives light, according to the words of the prophet, ' ' If you will not believe,' that is, if you do not make *

Rom.

x.

17.

it

t

Is.

vii.

9,

according to the Sept.


THE ASCENT

70

[BOOK

yourselves blind you shall not understand shall not

'

that

is,

IT.]

you

high and supernatural know

have

light, the

faith

was foreshadowed by the cloud which

ledge. 5.

The

divided the Egyptians from the children of Israel at the

entrance of the

Red

Sea.

'It

How

lightening the night.'*

was a dark cloud en

wonderful a cloud!

its

darkness illumines the night. Faith, then, which is a dark cloud, obscure to the soul and night also, for in the presence of faith the soul is blind, without its own natural light

enlightens with

its

own

obscurity,

and

illumines the darkness of the soul, so that the master

becomes

For man who

like the disciple.

is in

darkness

cannot be rightly enlightened except by darkness, as the Psalmist saith, 'Day to day uttereth speech, and night The day is God in to night showeth knowledge.' f '

'

everlasting bliss, where

it

is

perpetual day,

who com

municates and reveals His Word, the Son, to the blessed angels and the holy souls, they

who

may know Him and

which

is

now

are also

rejoice in

day, so that

Him.

the faith in the Church militant, where

'Night,' it is still

showeth knowledge to the Church, and conse quently to every soul, which is also night, because it night,

does not as yet enjoy the clear beatific vision, and

because in the presence of faith extinguished.

'

natural light

is

The teaching set before us here then is, that

the faith, which is

its

is

dark night, illumines the soul which words of the Psalmist,

in darkness, according to the

Night shall be

my

light in

my

pleasures,' + that

the pleasures of pure contemplation *Ex.

xiv.

20.

t Ps. xviiL

3.

is,

in

and of union with $

Ps. cxxxviii.

II.


[CHAP;

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

IV.]

71

God, the night of faith shall guide me. The soul, there fore, must be in darkness that it may have light, and be able to journey on this road.

CHAPTER How

IV.

the soul must be in darkness, in order to be duly guided by faith to the highest contemplation.

BELIEVE that I have now in some measure explained how faith is the dark night of the soul, and how also the I

soul

must be

that

it

may

in darkness, or deprived of its natural light,

be guided by faith to this high end of union.

But that the soul may know how to effect this, it is necessary that I should explain somewhat more minutely this

darkness which must cover ;it that

the abyss of faith.

it

may

enter into

I shall, therefore, in this chapter,

and by and by, with the help of God, more particularly of the way which the soul must keep, that it may not go astray in the darkness, speak of that in general,

nor put obstacles before 2. 1 say,

its

guide.

then, that the soul, to be rightly guided

to this state,

must be

part thereof

the sensual and

by

faith

in darkness, not only as to that

the inferior,

of which

which regards temporal and as to that part thereof, the but also created things, rational and the superior, of which I am now speaking, I

have already spoken

which regards God and

spiritual things.

clearly necessary for the soul,

aiming

Because

at its

own

it is

super

natural transformation, to be in darkness and far removed

from

all

that relates to

its

natural condition, the sensuaf


THE ASCENT

72

fttOOK

II,]

and rational parts. The supernatural is that which transcends nature, and, therefore, that which is natural

Inasmuch as

remains below.

union and trans

this

formation are not cognisable by sense or any human power, the soul must be completely and voluntarily empty of all that can enter into it, of every affection and so far as

inclination,

hinder

concerns

it

God from doing His own

resigned,

detached,

and

Who

itself.

shall

a soul that

will in

self-annihilated

The

?

is

soul,

must be emptied of all such feelings; and however great may be its supernatural endowments, it therefore,

must be as

were detached from them, in darkness like a blind man, leaning on the obscure faith, and taking it for its light and guide; not trusting to anything it it

understands, tastes,

darkness, which will lead faith is 3. If

as to

above

all

or imagines

feels,

for all this is

keep it back understanding, taste, and sense. it

astray, or

;

and

the soul be not blind herein, and in total darkness

all

such things,

it

will never reach to those higher

things which faith teaches.

A

blind man,

if

he be not

not commit himself wholly to his because he sees a little he thinks a certain but guide, road secure, not seeing another which is better. Such totally blind, will

an one leads his guide astray, because he acts as if he saw, and has more authority in the matter than his guide :

s6 the soul,

if it

or feeling of

its

leans upon any understanding, sense,

own

all this,

whatever

it

may be,

is

very

this

and very unlike to God in order to travel along road, is most easily led astray or hindered, because

it is

not perfectly blind in faith, which

little

This

is

the

meaning of

St.

is its

Paul when he

true guide. *

said,

He

that


[CHAP.

IV.J

cometh

to

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

God must

believe that

He

73

is.'*

He

that will

draw near and unite himself unto God, must believe that He is. This is saying in effect, he that will attain to n

God must not rely on his own understanding, upon his own imagination, sense, or feeling,

the union of

nor lean

but must believe in the perfection of the divine essence, which is not cognisable by the understanding, desire, imagination, nor any sense of man, and which in this

can never be known as

life

it is.

Yea, in this

life,

our

highest knowledge and deepest sense, perception, and

understanding of God is infinitely distant from that which He is, and from the pure fruition of His presence.

Thus the Prophet cries out, 'The eye hath not seen, God, beside Thee, what things Thou hast prepared for

4.

O

them that wait for Thee

and

Paul repeats his words, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared ;'

f

S.

*

for

them that love Him.'

soul life

may

+

How much

desire to be perfectly united

to that

whereunto

it is

to

soever, then, the

by grace

in this

be united in glory in the

next, which as St. Paul saith, eye hath not seen nor ear heard, and which hath not entered into the heart of man in the flesh,

evident, that in order to be perfectly

grace and love, it must live in utter that can enter by the eye, all that the

life in

darkness as to ear receives,

is

it

united in this

all

all

that the fancy

conceive, which here rassed, then,

when

it

is

may imagine,

the soul, on the road of the divine union,

leans at all on

its

own understanding,

imagination, judgment, will, or *

Heb.

or the heart

Greatly embar

signifies the soul.

xi. 6.

t

sense,

any habits of its own, or

Is. Ixiv. 4.

J

I

Cor.

ii.

9.


THE ASCENT

74

[BOOK

II.]

anything peculiar to itself, not knowing how to free and detach itself therefrom. For, as I have said, the goal to

which

it

tends it

highest thing fore

is

though this may be the know or feel, and it must, there

beyond

may

this,

go beyond, passing on

On

5.

to that

this road, therefore, to

which

it

knows

not.

abandon one's own way is more correctly, to

to enter on the true way, or, to speak

pass onwards to the goal

and

;

own way

to forsake one's

on that which has none, namely God. For the soul that attains to this state has no ways or methods

is

to enter

of

its

own, neither does

of the kind.

I

it,

nor can

mean ways

or feeling, though

it

has

it,

lean upon anything

of understanding, perceiving,

all

ways

at the

same

time, as

one who, possessing nothing, yet possesseth everything. For the soul courageously resolved on passing, interiorly

and exteriorly beyond the

limits of its

own

nature, enters

inimitably within the supernatural, which has no measure,

measure eminently within

but contains

all

arrive there

to depart hence,

is

going away, out of oneself,

as far as possible, from this vile state to that which

highest of

all.

To

itself.

Therefore, rising above

all

that

is

the

may be

known and

understood, temporally and spiritually, the soul must earnestly desire to reach that which in this

life

cannot be known, and which the heart cannot con

ceive

;

and, leaving behind

all

actual

and possible

taste

and feeling of sense ana spirit, must desire earnestly to at that which transcends all sense and all

arrive

feeling. 6.

In order that the soul

for this end,

it

must

presently explain

in

when

may be free and unembarrassed

no wise attach

itself

I treat of this point

as I shall

to anything


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. IV.] it

of

may

receive in the sense or spirit, but esteem such as

much

For the more importance the understands, feels, and imag

less importance.

what

soul attributes to

it

ines, and the greater the estimation the more it be spiritual or not,

it

it

On

it.

may have

more does

holds

it in,

its

the other hand, the less

it

in comparison with the

it

In this

the

delay in attain esteems all that

supreme good, the magnify and esteem the supreme good, and

consequently the greater the progress towards 7.

whether

detracts from

it

supreme good, and the greater will be ing to

75

way the

it.

draws nearer and nearer

soul

divine union, in darkness,

by

the

way

to the

of faith which,

be also obscure, yet sends forth a marvellous though Certainly, if the soul will see, it thereby becomes light. it

instantly

tempt

On

more blind as

to gaze

to

upon

have our own

this road, therefore, to

ness

is

Lord they

God, than he

For judgment

who

see not

may

I

am come

darkness, blind as to his shall see supernaturally,

strength.

dark

words of our

into this world, that

and they who see may become the spiritual road he who is in :

own proper and natural light, and he who shall rely on any

light of his own, the greater will shall

should at

see,

This relates to

more he

its

faculties in

to see the light, according to the '

:

blind.' *

the

who

the sun shining in

be his blindness, and

be hindered on the way of the divine

union. 8.

I think

it

necessary now, in order to avoid confusion, union with God. This

to explain the nature of the soul's I

intend to do in the following chapter, for

clearly understood, a great light will be *

S.

John

ix.

39.

if this

be

thrown on that


THE ASCENT

76

which

is

to follow.

For though

course of the present matter, it

seems to

This, therefore,

place for the subject.

question, because

[BOOK

it

still

it

a

fit

breaks in on the is

not beside the

understand the subject

will help us to

The next chapter then will be a

before us.

me

II.]

sort of

paren

thesis, after which I shall return to the special discussion

of the three powers of the soul in their relations to the three theological virtues with reference to the second

night of the

spirit.

CHAPTER The union of

WHAT

A

the soul with God.

have hitherto written

I

V. comparison.

will, in

some degree,

explain the nature of that state which I have called the

union of the soul with God, and therefore, what now follows will be so much the more intelligible. It is not

my is

intention at present to describe, in particular,

what

the union of the understanding, of the will, and of the

memory what is the ;

passing, and

of these faculties, and

which

I shall

what

also

speak hereafter

;

what the abiding union is

it

the perfect union, of

will be better

under

proper place, where treating the same subject we may have a vivid illustration with the present ex planation and there everything will be understood, and stood in

its

;

considered,

Now

and a better judgment arrived

I

am

is

a habit.

at.

speaking only of the perfect and abiding union in the substance of the soul and its powers, so far as 2.

the union

explain hereafter

how

Because, as to actual union,

I shall

and cannot be

in this

there

is not,


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. V.]

any abiding union in the only that which is passsing. life,

3.

77

faculties of the soul, but

In order then to understand what this union

must remember that

is,

we

every soul, even that of the God dwells, and is sub

in

greatest sinner in the world, stantially present.

This

way

of union or presence of

God, in the order of nature, subsists between Him and His creatures. By this. He preserves them in being, and if He withdraws it they immediately perish and

all

And

cease to be.*

so

when I speak of the union of the mean this substantial presence

soul with God, I do not

which

in every creature, but that union

is

formation of the soul in

God by

love which

and trans is

only then

accomplished when there subsists the likeness which For this reason shall this union be called

love begets.

the union of likeness, as the other stantial

union

;

this latter

one

is

is

essential or sub

natural, the other is

supernatural, which takes effect when two wills, the will of God and the will of the soul, are conformed together,

neither desiring aught repugnant to the other.

when

Thus the

have driven away from itself all that soul, is contrary to the divine will, becomes transformed in

God by 4.

it

shall

love.

This

is

to

be understood not only of that which

is

contrary in act but also in habit, so that not only volun

must be got rid of, but the And because no creature can, by

tary acts of imperfection

habit thereof as well.

any actions or powers of its own, attain to that which is God, the soul must be therefore detached from all createa things, from all actions *

and powers of

See Spiritual Canticle Stanz.

its

xi. 2.

own, that

is


THE ASCENT

78

own

[BOOK

II.J

understanding, liking , and feeling, so that passing by everything which is unlike to, and not in conformity with, God, it may attain to the receiving of

from

its

1

His likeness, and resting upon nothing which is not His will, it may be thus transformed in Him. Though it be true, as I

have

God

said, that

always in every soul, bestowing upon it, and preserving to it, by His presence, its natural being, yet for all this He does not always is

communicate the supernatural life. For this is given only by love and grace, to which all souls do not attain

;

and those who

do, do not

in the

same degree,

some

for

higher degrees of love than others. That soul, therefore, has greater communion with God, which is

rise to

most advanced

in love, that

is,

whose

And

formable to the will of God.

will is

most con

that soul which has

reached perfect conformity and resemblance

is

perfectly

united with, and supernaturally transformed

God.

in,

For which cause, therefore, as I have already explained, the more the soul cleaves to created things, relying on its

own

strength,

by habit and

inclination, the less is

disposed for this union, because

it

resign itself into the hands of God, that

form

it

The

supernaturally.

He may

trans

soul has need, therefore, to

be detached from these natural contrarieties and similarities, that

God,

Who

communicates Himself

naturally, in the order of nature,

Himself supernaturally,

it

does not completely

may

also

dis to

it

communicate

in the order of grace.

This is the meaning of St. John when he said, 'born, net of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will 5.

of

man, but of God.'

*

It is *

S.

as

John

i.

if

he had

13.

'

said,

He

gave


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. V.]

79

power to be made the sons of God,' that is, to be trans formed in God, only to those who are 'born, not of blood/ not of natural temperaments and constitutions, nor of the will of the flesh,' nor of our natural free will '

man, which includes every form of intellectual judgment and compre hension. To none of these gave He power to be made

and

and

capacities,

God born of God sons of

dead to

all

their

less of the will of

in all perfection, but only to those ;

to those regenerated

that

selves to that

God

still

is

which

new

by

who

are

grace, first of all

man, rising above them supernatural, and receiving from

of the old is

and sonship, surpassing every For as our Lord saith, Unless a man

birth

thought of man. be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.'* He who shall not have '

been born again of the Holy Ghost shall not see the kingdom of God, which is the state of perfection. To be born again of the Holy Ghost in this life perfectly, is to be a soul most like unto God in purity without any

Thus the pure transformation by

stain of imperfection.

participation of union

may

be

effected,

though not essen

tially. 6.

In order that we may have a clearer notion of the one

and the

other, let us consider the following illustration

the sun, with

window be

its rays,

strikes

a window

;

but

if

:

that

stained and unclean, the sun cannot shine

throughout nor transform

it

perfectly into

itself,

as

it

would have done, had it been clean and unsullied. This depends not on the sun but on the window, so that if the latter

were perfectly clean, the rays of the sun would so *

S.

John

iii.

5.


THE ASCENT

[BOOK

x

shine through

and so transform

it,

it

as to

make

it

H.j

seem

rays and to give forth the light thereof, though in truth the window, while it appears

identical with the

one with the rays of the sun, preserves still its own separate and distinct substance. In this case we might say that the window 7.

is

a ray, or light, by participation.

Thus the soul resembles the window the divine light ;

of the presence of God in the order of nature, perpetually strikes

upon

it,

or rather dwells within

by resigning itself, in removing from and stain of the creature, which is

it.

The

itself

to

soul then

every spot

keep the will

perfectly united to the will of God for to love Him is to labour to detach ourselves from, and to divest ourselves

everything

of,

which

is

not

God,

for

God's sake

becomes immediately enlightened by, and transformed because He communicates His own super in, God natural being in such a way that the soul seems to be ;

God Himself and union

to possess the things of God. Such a then wrought when God bestows on the soul

is

makes the things of God and the soul one by the transformation which renders the one a partaker of the other. The soul seems to be God that supreme grace which

rather than

itself,

and indeed

is

God by participation, own natural substance

though in reality preserving its as distinct from God as it did before, although trans formed in Him, as the window preserves its own sub

stance distinct from that of the rays of the sun shining

and making it light. Hence it becomes more evident that the

through 8.

it

position for this union

is,

fitting dis

not that the soul should under

stand, taste, feel, or imagine anything on the subject of


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP- V.]

81

the nature of God, or any other thing whatever, but only

and love which

that pureness

is

perfect resignation,

and

complete detachment from all things for God alone. And as there cannot be any perfect transformation with out perfect pureness, so in proportion to that pureness

be the enlightenment, illumination, and union of the soul with God, yet not wholly perfect if the soul be

will

The following

not wholly purified and clean.

make

tion will

this plain

:

illustra

conceive a picture painted

with exquisite taste and delicate

finish,

the lines of

which are so admirably formed that by reason of their singular fineness they can with difficulty be observed.

Now, he whose

vision

imperfect will see only the less

is

perfect portions of the picture, clearer will see still

more of

its

and he whose vision

beauties,

and another with

better eyesight will see more, and, finally, he

vision

excellencies of

it

is

it

All this

enlightened

for the painting

it,

more

that the

though

whose

the most perfect will see the most delicate

is

seen.

is

s

much beauty

observed the more remains to be

applicable to those souls

is

by God and

Him

in

be true that every

measure, great or

has

little,

may

who

transformed.

soul,

are

For

according to

its

attain to this union, yet all

do not in an equal degree, but only as our Lord shall give unto each there all

;

as

it

is

some see God more

see

Him and

is filled

or less.

all

with the blessed in heaven, perfectly than others,

are satisfied

and happy,

for

and yet each one

with the vision according to his merits, greater

Hence

it

this life enjoy equal

of perfection,

comes

to pass, that

peace and

everyone

though souls

in

tranquiMty in their state

being

satisfied,

nevertheless


THE ASCENT

82

[BOOK

H.J

some of them may be more advanced than the rest, in a higher degree of union, and yet all equally satisfied according to their several dispositions, and the know ledge they have of God. But that soul which does not attain to that degree of purity corresponding with the light

and vocation

it

has received from God, will never

obtain true peace and contentment, because attained to

that detachment,

it

has not

and emptiness of

its

powers, which are requisite for pure union.

CHAPTER The

VI.

three theological virtues perfect the powers of the soul,

them

bring

from

S.

into a state of emptiness

Luke and

HAVING now

and darkness.

and

Proofs

Isaias.

to explain

how the three powers

of the soul,

understanding, memory, and will, are to be brought into this spiritual night, which is the means of the divine union, it

becomes necessary,

chapter

how

and charity soul

is

in the first place, to discuss in this

the three theological virtues, faith, hope,

through the instrumentality of which the

united to

God

in its

and darkness, each one understanding, hope

is

in its

made

perfect

effect this

own power

:

emptiness

faith in the

memory, and charity in the show how the understanding

in the

Afterwards, I shall

will.

powers

in the

obscurity of faith,

how

the

and how, also, the will memory is made empty is to withdraw and detach itself from every affection in hope,

that

it

may

ascend upwards unto God.

shall see clearly

how

necessary

it is

This done,

we

for the soul, if

it

will travel securely along the spiritual road, to journey

in the

dark night, leaning on these three virtues, which


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

fCIIAP. VL~!

make

it

empty of all things and

said, the soul

not united to

is

83 For, as I have

blind.

God

in this life

by the

understanding or feeling or imagination, or any other sense whatever, but only by faith in the understanding:

by hope, which may be referred to the memory though also to the will in so far as hope relates to that emptiness and forgetfulness of every temporal and perishable thing which it causes, the soul preserving itself entire for

and by

the supreme good which

it

hopes for;

love, in the will.

These three virtues render empty all the powers of the

2.

makes the understanding empty and blind hope takes everything away from the memory, and charity detaches the will from every pleasure and affec soul

;

tion

.faith

;

Faith teaches us what the

which are not God.

understanding cannot reach by the light of nature and rf reason, being, as the Apostle saith, 'the substance of things to be hoped

for.'

*

And though the understanding

and certainly assents to them, yet it cannot dis cover them for if the understanding discovered them,

firmly

;

there

would be no room

for faith.

And though

the

understanding derives certainty from faith, yet it does not derive clearness but rather obscurity. As to hope, there

is

no doubt that

brings darkness over

hope

is

ever

'

hope that

is

renders the

memory empty, and

as to all surrounding objects, for

it

conversant with that which

possession, for if

te no place

it

it

for

seen

hope is

;

*

Heb. xl

I.

not in

because, as the Apostle saith,

not hope, for what a man seeth why This virtue, then, makes empty

doth he hope forP'f G2

is

were already possessed there would

t"

Rom.

viii.

24.


THE ASCENT

84

also, for it is the virtue of that

and not of that which empties the will of

God above

all,

[BOOK

which

fix

God

'

doth not renounce

soul,

all

and empty

it

them wholly upon

Every one of you that

that he possesseth cannot be

Thus these

disciple.'

same way

compels us to love we cannot do without withdrawing our

from every object, to Christ our Lord hath said, *

not in possession,

all things, for it

affections <

is

Charity, too, in the

is.

II.]

My

virtues bring darkness over the

of all created things.

Consider that parable of our Lord recorded by S. Luke, f of the friend who went out at midnight asking 3.

for three loaves.

These loaves are the three theological

virtues. They were asked that the soul must dispose

for at midnight, to teach

tion is to be 4.

and that perfec

acquired in this night of the spirit.

The prophet

Isaias

saw

either side of God, each of

in

a vision two seraphim on

them with

two of their wings they covered their the quenching and subduing of the for the

these

itself for perfection in

virtues in darkness as to all its powers,

us

With

sake of God.

covered their faces

;

With

six wings.

feet.

This signifies

will in everything

two of their wings they

this signifies the blindness of the

With two

understanding in the presence of God.

of

their wings they flew this signifies the flight of hope towards those things which we possess not lifted up on Upon it stood high above all possession short of God. ;

;

'

the one had six wings, and the other had with two each covered his face, and with

the seraphim six

:

wings two each covered his ;

We have, *

S.

feet,

and with two they

flew.' +

therefore, to lead these three powers of the Luke xiv. 33. + Is. vL 2. t S. Luke xi. 5.


CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

VI.J

soul unto

these three virtues

;

faith, stripping the

standing by

85

informing the under

memory

of all that

it

by hope, and informing the will by charity, detaching them from, and making them blind to, all that

possesses

is

beside these three virtues.

This

5.

the spiritual night which 1 have called the

is

active night

;

to enter into

because the soul labours, on it.

When

sense, I explained

how

I

its

own

part,

was treating of the night

of

that the sensual powers of the

soul are to be emptied of all sensible objects in the desire, so that the soul

may go

forth from the beginning

of its course to the middle, which

speaking of the night of the

by

the help of God,

soul are to be emptied

and remain

how and

is faith

;

so now, while

spirit, I shall also

explain,

the spiritual powers of the

purified of all that

not God,

is

in the darkness of these three virtues,

which

are the means and dispositions by which the soul Herein is found every becomes united with God. security

against the

and the

cunning of the devil

craftiness of self-love with all its ramifications,

which

and hinder the progress is of spiritual persons, because they do not know how to be detached, and to guide their steps by these virtues. For

wont most deeply

to deceive

never perfectly reach the substance and pureness of spiritual good, neither do they journey, as

this cause they

they might do, by the straightest and the shortest road.

Keep

in

mind, however, that

specially of those

of contemplation.

I

who have begun

am now

speaking

to enter the state

For, as to beginners, this

discussed at greater length, which I shall do shall

have $o treat

of what

is

peculiar to them.

must be

when

I


THE ASCENT

86

CHAPTER The

straitness of the

necessary for those

way of

H.]

VII.

The detachment and freedom it. The detachment of the

life.

who walk

[BOOK

in

understanding.

THE

pureness and detachment of the three powers of the

soul require, for their discussion, greater abilities

knowledge and

than mine, so as to enable spiritual persons to

comprehend how strait the way is that leadeth unto of this, they may not wonder at life, and that, convinced and detachment wherein we must abandon, For this end in this night, the three powers of the soul. we must ponder well the words of our Lord, applied here

the emptiness

dark night, and the way of perfection. Our Lord saith, 'How narrow is the gate and strait is the way that leadeth to life and few there are that find it.' * Con to the

;

sider the great It is as if

and

He had

'

said,

narrower than you

How

'

by

saying,

significant import of the

In truth

think.'

narrow

it is

Christ,

is

'

very narrow,

much

He began By this He

Consider, also, that is

the gate.'

teaches us that the soul that will enter in

which

word how.'

by the gate

the beginning of the road, must

and detach the

first

of

of

from the things This of time and sense, loving God above them all. all

constrain

itself,

will

refers to the night of the senses. 2. is

Our Lord immediately adds,

*

Strait is the way,' that

By this He teaches us that He who will way of perfection must not only enter

of perfection.

walk

in

the

through the narrow gate, emptying himself of every thing that relates to sense, but must also renounce all *

S.

Matt.

vii.

14.


[CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

VII.]

that he possesses, laying a constraint

87

upon

and

himself,

releasing himself entirely from all attachment even to

Thus the narrow gate refers to the sensual nature of man, and the strait way to his spiritual

spiritual things.

or rational nature.

He

3.

'

says also,

Few

there are that find

here the reason of this, which

who understand how, and

is

Mark

it.'

that there are but few

enter into this

to

desire,

supreme detachment and emptiness of spirit. pathway up the lofty mountain of perfection,

For

this

in that

it

ascends upwards and is strait, requires that those who climb it should carry nothing with them which shall press them downwards, or embarrass them in their ascent upwards.

And

as this

should seek and aim after to

is

God

be the sole object of our

a matter in which

alone

;

so

we

God only ought

efforts.

This clearly shows that the soul must be not only disentangled from all that belongs to the creature, but 4.

also detached

And

so our

and annihilated

may more

and guiding us into this wonderful doctrine, and which is, if I

Lord teaching

road, gives us this

in the things of the spirit.

us,

so say, the less practised

necessary for them.

it is

oecause

it

so necessary

is

and then explain

real

by

spiritual persons the

I shall transcribe

and so much and

it

here,

to the purpose,

meaning. <Ii any man will follow Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whosoever will save his

My

life,

shall lose

sake

teach us

.

.

.

how

its

it,

spiritual

and whosoever

shall save

it.'

*

O

shall lose his life for

that

to understand, practise, S. Mark viii. 34, 35.

some one would and

feel

what

is


THE ASCENT

88

[BOOK

n.j

involved in this profound lesson of self-denial given us by our Lord Himself, that spiritual persons may perceive

how

on

different,

from that which

this road, their

many

of

conduct ought to be to be right Some

them think

!

consider any kind of retirement from the world, and any correction of excesses to be sufficient

others are content

;

with a certain degree of virtue, persevere in prayer and practise mortification, but they do not rise to this detachment, all

pureness

and poverty, or

self-denial,

or spiritual

which our Saviour here

these are one

recommends, because they nourish and clothe their natural self with consolations, instead of detaching themselves therefrom, and denying themselves in all

They think

things for God.

to

enough

it

deny them

selves in the things of this world, without annihilating

themselves, and purging

Hence

things.

it

away all

comes

solid devotion presents

self-seeking in spiritual

to pass, that

itself to

when any

of this

them, which consists

in

sweetness in God, in dryness, in distaste, in trouble, which is the real spiritual cross, and the annihilation of

all

the nakedness of the spiritual poverty of Christ, they run

away from

it

as from death

itself.

delights, for sweet communications,

God, but this

is

They seek only and

satisfactions in

not self-denial, nor detachment of

but rather spiritual gluttony. spiritually enemies

They

of the cross

for

spirit,

render themselves

of

Christ,

for

true

spirituality seeks for bitterness rather than sweetness in

God, inclines to suffering more than to consolation, and to be in want of everything for God rather than to possess

;

to dryness

and

afflictions rather

communications, knowing well that

this

than to sweet is

to follow


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, vn.] Christ and deny

89

while the other course

is perhaps oneself in but to seek which is the very God, nothing opposite of Icv3. For to seek self in God is to seek for

self,

comfort and refreshment from God.

But

God

to seek

in

Himself is not only to be willingly deprived of this thing and of that for God, but to incline ourselves to will and choose for Christ's sake whatever

most disagreeable,

is

whether proceeding from God or from the world to love God. 5.

O who

can

tell

us

how

renunciation should reach death, a temporal, natural, all

things which the

This

is

the

God

far

wills that this self-

In truth

!

and

should be as

it

spiritual annihilation in

will esteems

;

herein

is all

meaning of our Saviour when He

soever will save his

life

this is

;

shall lose

'

it

*

;

our gain. *

said,

that

is,

Who

whoso

ever will possess, or seek anything for himself, he shall lose

'Whosoever

it.

shall save

'

it

;

that

shall

is,

is

choosing rather the cross '

said,

He

life

for

My

whosoever shall renounce

sake of Christ whatever

when He

lose his

pleasing to his to

sake,

for the

own

will,

which our Lord referred

that hateth his

'

life

f

he shall gain

it.

6.

Our Lord taught

this

same

truth to the two disciples

who asked

that they might be admitted to sit on His hand and on His left. He gave no encouragement right to them in the matter of their petition, but offered them

the chalice which

He was

about to drink Himself, as

something more safe and more precious on earth than the dignity which they sought. This chalice is the death of our natural self *

S.

Mark

viii.

by detachment from 35.

t

all

S.

that relates to


THE ASCENT

90

[BOOK

sense, as I

have already

the

as I shall explain hereafter, so that

spirit,

said,

and from

all

II.]

that relates to

we may

journey onwards on this strait way, that is, detachment from our own understanding, sense, and feelings, and in such a manner that the soul shall renounce itself both in

and

sense

spirit,

and more, so that

it

not be

may

hindered even by the things of the spirit on the narrow road. For this road admits only of self-denial as our Lord declares and the cross, which is our staff to lean

and which lightens the road and makes it easy. Thus our Lord hath said My yoke is sweet, and My on,

*

:

burden

This burden

light.'*

is

the cross.

For

if

we

are

determined to submit ourselves, and to carry the cross this is nothing else but an earnest resolution to seek

and endure

it

in everything for

God we

shall find great

refreshment and sweetness therein to enable us to travel

along this road, thus detached from nothing. it

But

if

we

come from God

cling to

all things,

desiring

anything whatever, whether

or from the world,

we

are not journey

ing in detachment and self-denial, and so we shall miss our way, and never be able to ascend by the narrow path.

Would that I could persuade spiritual persons that the way of God consisteth not in the multiplicity of medita 7.

tions,

ways of devotion or sweetness, though these may

be necessary for beginners, but in one necessary thing

knowing how to deny themselves in earnest, inwardly and outwardly, giving themselves up to suffer for Christ's sake, and annihilating themselves utterly. only, in

He who

shall exercise himself herein, will then find all *

S.

Matt.

xi.

30.


[CHAP. this

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

VII.]

and much more.

And if he

which

sum and

exercise,

do

may

the

is

be deficient at

all in this

root of all virtue, all he

be but beating- the

will

91

air

utterly profitless,

;

notwithstanding great meditations and communications.

There

no progress but

is

in the following of Christ,

Who

am the way,' saith He, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father but by Me.'* And again, I am the door. By Me if any man enter in he shall be saved.' f That

is

the way, the truth, and the

'

life.

I

'

*

spirituality, therefore,

which would travel

shunning the following of

at its ease,

in sweetness

Christ,

is,

my

in

opinion, nothing worth.

And now, having said that Christ is the way, and that

8.

the

way

is

sense and

to die to our natural self in all that relates to spirit, I

proceed to explain

imitation of Christ, for

in

In the

example.

spiritually while

first

He

place,

on earth to

is is

it

all

how

it is

to

be done

our light and our

He

certain that

died

things belonging to

and naturally at death The Son of man,' saith He, 'hath not where to lay His head.'+ And when '

sense,

He is

;

was the same.

In the second place, it certain that at the hour of death His soul was deso died

it

late and, as

His Father,

it

left

were, brought to nothing, forsaken of without comfort in the most distressing

He

dryness, so that

God,

cried out on the cross,

hast thou

why

greatest sensible

Me?'

forsaken

'

My

abandonment of His whole

He

God,

my

This was the life

;

and

it

was then

that

whole

of miracles and of wonders, the reconciliation

life *

+

S.

John

wrought the greatest

xiv. 6.

S. Matt. viii. 20.

+

work of His

Ib. x. 9. S.

Matt, xxvii

46.


THE ASCENT

92

[BOOK

II.]

This

He

**^~*S^

and union with God by grace of

all

mankind.

accomplished at that very moment when annihilated in

all things,

most

brought lowest in the estima

when they saw Him dying on

of men, for

tion

He was

the

they showed Him no reverence, yea, rather they stood by and derided Him. Then, too, was He brought lowest in His very nature, for that was as it

ignominious

tree,

were annihilated when

He

died

and as

;

and consolation of His Father

He might pay

forsaken that

to the protection

also, for

He was

then

our debt to the utmost, and

unite us with God, being Himself annihilated and, as to

were, brought

Psalmist saith of Him,

knew

*

not.'

spiritual

This

man

Christ, that

he

Therefore

nothing. '

I

am

it

is

that

it

the

brought to nothing, and

I

for the instruction of the truly

is

mystery of the gate and way ot become united with God, and also to

in the

may

teach him that the more he annihilates self for God, in sense and

spirit,

the

more

will

he be united with God,

and the greater the work he will accomplish. And when he shall have been brought to nothing, when his humility then will take place the union of the soul and God, which is the highest and noblest estate attainable is perfect,

in this life.

This consisteth not in spiritual refreshments,

sweetness, or sentiments, but in the living death of the cross, sensually 9, I will not

could pursue

but

little

it

and

spiritually,

outwardly and inwardly.

proceed further with this subject, though indefinitely

known by

those

for I see that Jesus Christ is

;

who

consider themselves His

These, loving themselves very much, seek in their own comfort and satisfaction, and not His

friends.

Him

I

*

Ps.

Ixxii.

22.


[CHAP.

sufferings

of those

who

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

VIII.]

for love of Him.

and death

who

93

am now speaking

I

think themselves His friends, not of those

live at a great distance

from

Him men ;

of learning

and of dignity, and others who live in the world, slaves of ambition and of honours of these, we may say, they

know

not Christ; and their end, however good, will be

of anguish.

full

am

I

not speaking of these, but they will

be remembered in the day of judgment, for to them it behoveth us first to speak the word of God,' * as to '

whom He

persons

has set up as guides to others, by

reason of their learning and exalted rank. 10.

But

let

me now address myself to the understanding

of the spiritual man, and in an especial manner to him

whom God

in

His goodness has raised up

contemplation

him

way

and of

things, girding

myself now particularly to he is to direct himself in the

for I address

instruct

God by

to the state of

him how

faith,

up

and purify himself from all contrary he may enter on this

his loins that

narrow path of obscure contemplation.

CHAPTER No

VIII.

no knowledge, comprehensible by the understanding, can subserve as proximate means of union with God.

creature,

BEFORE

with God, which

how

proper and fitting means of union faith, it is right that I should show

I discuss the is

that no created, or imagined, thing can subserve

the understanding as a proper

means

for its

union with

God; and how everything which the understanding *

Acts

xiii.

46.


THE ASCENT

94

does but cleave to

if it

embraces,

instead of a help.

[BOOK

it,

U.

]

becomes a hindrance

In this chapter I shall show this in

general, and afterwards

do so in particular, going through all sorts of knowledge which the understanding may receive through the senses, both exterior and interior

;

I shall

and then the inconveniences and

losses

sustain through all such knowledge, because

it

may does

it

not proceed in reliance on the proper means, which the faith.

is

a principle of philosophy that all means must be proportionate to the end, having a certain fitness, and 2. It is

resemblance to ject in view.

to

is

For

such as shall be sufficient for the ob instance, a person wishes to reach a

he must necessarily travel along the road, the means, leading to it. Likewise, if you wish

certain city

which

it,

:

combine and unite together wood and

it is

requisite that heat, that is the

pose the wood, and raise it

shall

fire,

in that case,

means, should so dis

to such a degree of heat that

it

have a great resemblance and proportion to

fire.

If you attempt this by any other than the proper means, which is heat, as, for instance, by air, water, or earth, it

be impossible to unite wood with fire. So, therefore, if the understanding is to be united with God, so far as will

that

is

possible in this

it

life,

must, of necessity,

make

use of those means which can effect that union, and which are most like unto God. 3.

But remember, among

the lowest, there that bears it

be

any

is

all creatures,

the highest and

not one that comes near unto God, or

likeness to

His substance.

For, though

true, as theologians tell us, that all creatures

certain relation to God,

bear a

and are tokens of His being,


[CHAP, vin.]

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

some more, some

less,

according to the greater or less

oerfection of their nature, yet there

or

95

is

no essential likeness

communion between them and Him

yea, rather the

;

distance between His divine nature and their nature infinite.

Hence, then,

it is

is

impossible for the understand

God, by means of created things, whether of heaven or of earth, because there is no proportion of similitude between them. Thus David, ing to attain perfectly unto

There is none speaking of the heavenly host, cries out among the gods like unto Thee, O Lord.'* The gods '

:

'

'

And who is

are the holy angels and the souls of the saints. '

again,

O

God, Thy way, God like our God

the great

O

in the holy place

is '

?

f

That

is,

the

;

way

to Thee,

a holy way, namely, pureness of faith. Who the great God like our God ? Who is the saint

God,

'

is

'

is

so high in glory, or the angel

so exalted

by

nature,

can be a way proportionate and sufficient for us to attain unto God The same prophet speaking oi the things of heaven and earth together, saith, the Lord that

?

'

high and looketh on the low, and the high He knoweth afar off.' J That is, God high in His own being, seeth is

most

that the things of the earth are in themselves

and low,

vile

comparison with Himself and the high,' the heavenly host, He knoweth to be far distant from

Him.

No

*

in

;

creature, therefore, can

be a proportionate

means of perfect union with God. 4.

So

also nothing that the imagination

the understanding comprehend, in this

life, is

a proximate means of union with God. ot natural *

knowledge

Ps. Ixxxv. 8,

t

;

may conceive or For

the understanding Ibid.

Ixxvi. 14.

J

is

if

or can be

we speak

incapable of

Ibid, cxxxvii. 6.


THE ASCENT

96

[BOOK

U.]

comprehending anything unless it be presented to it under forms and images by the bodily senses and these forms of things, as I have already said, cannot serve as ;

means, and no natural acts of the understanding can in

any way contribute 5.

thereto.

Again, if we speak of supernatural acts the understanding in

sible in this life

as far as pos

its

bodily prison

has neither the disposition nor the capacity requisite for the reception of the clear knowledge of God. This know ledge

not of this

is

without

Me

Thus God

it.

* live.'

and

for

life,

And

we must

either die, or

said to Moses,

S.

'

Man

shall not see '

saith the same,

John

remain

No man

hath seen God at any time.' f St Paul, too, repeats the words of Isaias, 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath

entered into the heart of

it

why Moses

the reason

bush

at the

*

man/

This

+

is

durst not behold,'

God being there present. He knew that no contempla tion of God by his understanding could be fitting though had of God.

that sprung from the deep sense he

Elias,

our father, covered his face on the mountain, in the pres ence of God. By that action he taught us that he made ||

his understanding blind, not venturing to apply

ment so

vile to

a matter so high

and

;

an instru

that he perceived

however much he saw or understood, all would be most unlike unto God, and far distant from clearly, that

Him. 6.

No knowledge,

therefore,

and no conceptions

in this

can serve as proximate means of this high union of the love of God. All that the understanding mortal

Exod.

life

t

xxxiii. 20.

Acts

vii.

32

;

S.

John

Ex.

iii.

I.

6.

+

18. ||

i

Cor.

3 Kings

ii.

9

xix.

;

I

I ;.

.

Ixiv.

4.


[CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

VIII.]

97 \__^^

may comprehend with; and

that the

all

;

may be satisfied may conceive, is most

will

that the imagination

all

Him.

unlike unto God, and most disproportionate to

To admirably expressed by the prophet then have you likened God? or what image will

This truth

whom

you make statue

r

'

is

:

Him

for

Hath

?

workman

the

or hath the goldsmith formed '

silversmith with plates of silver?

which

*

it

cast a graven

with gold, or the

The workman

is

the

and

our

fashions

knowledge, understanding cleanses it from the iron of impressions and fancy. The goldsmith is the will, which is capable of receiving the forms and figures of pleasure caused by the gold of love wherewith it loves. The silversmith which cannot repre sent

God with

plates of silver,

is

the

memory with

the

imagination, the notions and conceptions of which are

The prophet then says, in other words The understanding, by speculation, cannot comprehend anything which is like unto God

well described as plates of silver. :

;

no delight, no satisfaction of the will can resemble that which is God nor can the memory furnish the imagina ;

tion with is

any notions or images

to represent

Him.

It

evident, then, from this that the understanding cannot

be immediately directed

the

in

way

of

God by any

knowledge such as this, and that, if it is to draw near unto God, it must do so by not understanding rather than by seeking to understand; yea, rather it must be by making itself blind, covering itself with darkness,

and not by opening

its

eyes, that

Hence

divine enlightening.

is

it

it

can attain to the

that contemplation,

by which God enlightens the understanding, *

Is.

xl.

18,

19.

is

called


X-

-N

THE ASCENT

98

ceives

II.]

wisdom of God, a secret even to the understanding which re St. Dionysius calls it a ray of darkness. And the

mystical theology, that

because

[BOOK

is,

the secret

it is

it.

' The way of wisdom prophet Baruch thus speaks of it have not neither have they known, they remembered :

her paths.' * It is therefore clear that the understanding must be blind, as to every path along which it 'ias to ^travel, in order to be united with God. 7.

Aristotle says, that as the eyes of the bat are with

regard to the sun, which wholly blinds them, so is our understanding with regard to the greater light of God,

which

is

to us perfect darkness.

more profound and the

He

further says, that the

clearer the things of

God

are in

themselves, the less intelligible and the more obscure

they are to us. The Apostle says the same thing, when he teaches us that the deep things of God are not known

unto men. here

all

among

I

should never end were

bring forward

the authorities and reasons which all

show

that,

created things of which the understanding

takes cognisance, there

ladder whereby high.

I to

it

may

Yea, rather

each of these things, as proximate

nothing which can serve as a ascend unto God, Who is so

is

we must acknowledge if

and

the understanding will use them

means of union,

hindrance, but the source of

will prove not

many

in the ascent of the mount.

*

that all

Baruch

iii.

23.

errors

only a

and delusions,


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. IX.]

CHAPTER Faith

IX.

and proportionate means of the under

the proximate

is

99

standing by which the soul may attain to the divine union of love. Proofs from the Holy Scriptures.

IT appears then from what I have written that the under standing,

if

rightly disposed for the divine union,

must

be pure, and empty of all sensible objects, disengaged from all clear intellectual perceptions, inwardly tranquil

and

still,

resting on faith

;

for faith is the sole

proximate

and proportionate means of the soul's union with God, seeing that there is no other alternative, but that God is either seen, or believed in.

Him

faith

proposes One, so faith proposes

And

thus by this

means

Himself to the soul

For as God

as infinite

Him

;

is

so

Three and

Three and One.

to us as

alone, that

is infinite,

He

and as

is faith,

in the divine light,

God

manifests

which surpasses

understanding, and therefore the greater the faith of the soul the more is that soul united to God. This is the all

meaning of St. Paul when he said, He that cometh to God must believe that He is.'* Such an one must walk '

with his understanding in darkness, and in the obscurity of faith only for in this darkness God unites

by

faith,

;

being Himself hidden in it, Darkness was under His feet, and He

Himself to the understanding, as

it is

written

* :

ascended upon the cherubim, and He flew upon the wings of the winds. And He made darkness His covert, His pavilion round about

the air.'t

Him, dark waters

The darkness 'under His

in the clouds of

feet,'

serving for

'His covert' and 'His pavilion,' and 'the dark waters,' *

H2

Hcbr.

xi.

6.

t

Ps. xvii.

1012.


THE ASCENT

100

signify the obscurity of faith,

[BOOK

which conceals Him.

II.]

His

1

ascending on the cherubim,' and His flying 'on the wings of the winds,' signify that He transcends all under

The cherubim mean those who understand

or contemplate

and

'

'

standing.

'

'

wings of the winds are the sublime notions or conceptions of the mind, above

lofty

the

;

which His divine being

is,

which no man can ever

comprehend. This truth

2.

shadowed

is

forth in the

Holy Scriptures,

where we read

that, when Solomon had finished the temple, God came down in a cloud, which filled it, so that the people could not see. Then Solomon said The Lord said that He would dwell in a cloud.'* Moses '

:

on the mount, saw a cloud wherein God was hidden. f And at all times, when God communicated with men, He appeared through a cloud. We read in the book of Job, also,

God spoke

that

'The Lord

out of the darkened air:

answered Job out of a whirlwind.'* These clouds signify the obscurity of faith, in which God is hidden when He

communicates Himself at that time to '

When

which

that Which

part shall be done

is

This will be removed

to the soul. St.

Paul referred when he

perfect '

away

;

is

come, that which

when that which '

is

that 3.

which

This

soldiers

is

is perfect,'

in

when

the divine light, shall come.

prefigured in the

had lamps

is

in part,'

the obscurity of faith, shall be done away, and '

said,

army

in their hands,

of

Gedeon

:

the

which they saw not, But when they

because they were within the pitchers.' '

had broken the pitchers the lamps gave *

3 Kings

J Job.

viii.

xxxviii.

10 i

;

12. xl.

i.

t Exod. i

Cor.

light. xix. 9. xiii.

10.

Gedeon


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. X.J

101

gave them trumpets in their hands, and empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers.' * So faith, of which these '

pitchers were a figure, contains the divine light, that

God

the truth which

when

life,

the

is

;

work of

and

at the

faith is done,

broken, the light and glory of 4. It is life

end of

God

this

is

mortal

and the pitchers

will then shine forth.

therefore plain that the soul,

which would

in this

be united with God and commune immediately with

Him in the cloud where, accord He has Solomon, ing promised to dwell and in the obscure air, wherein He was pleased to reveal His Him, must

unite itself to

to

;

secrets to it

Job

see

may It

is

its

hands, in the acts of the will, that

the union of love

though

in the obscurity

so that, as soon as the pitcher of

of faith

5.

and take up the pitchers of Gedeon, that

hold in

may

light which

it

;

God

life

be broken,

face to face in glory.

remains for

me now

to describe particularly those

notions and apprehensions which the understanding can

admit

way

;

the hindrance and the injury they can do in the

of faith

;

and how the soul must be disposed with

respect to them, so that they

be profitable rather

may

than hurtful, both those which proceed from the senses as well as those which proceed from the spirit

CHAPTER The

X.

apprehensions and acts of the

divisions of the

understanding.

IN order to describe specially the gain and the loss which the notions and apprehensions of the understand'

Judg.

vii.

1$,


THE ASCENT

102

[BOOK

ing occasion in the soul with respect to of the divine union,

between

means

the

faith,

necessary to distinguish here

apprehensions, natural and super

these

all

it is

II']

natural, so that the understanding

may be

directed with

greater accuracy into the night and obscurity of faith.

This I shall do with the utmost brevity possible.

There are two ways by which these notions and intelligent acts enter into the understanding; one is 2.

The

natural, the other supernatural.

the

first

means by which the understanding

includes

all

know

receives

ledge, whether through the channel of the bodily senses,

or

The second comprises

reflection.

by

that

all

is

beyond the natural powers and capacity of the under

Some

standing.

and some of

them

The former

spiritual.

;

comprehending

knowledge

all

one

;

is

also of

comprises

The ;

distinct

and

and general.

particular

may

spiritual supernatural

two kinds one

four

interior bodily

that the imagination

other confused, obscure,

kind

corporeal,

of two kinds

and the other through the

grasp, form, and. conceive.

the

is

enters the understanding through the exterior

bodily senses senses,

is

supernatural knowledge

special

The

;

first

com

apprehensions,

municated to the mind without the intervention of any one of the bodily senses. These are visions, revelations, locutions,

which

is

and

spiritual impressions.

be led into

this

by

is

the

work of faith.

directing

beginning with the

then*.

kind,

obscure and general, has but one form, that of

contemplation, which

re-t,

The second

it

first

The

soul

thereto through

and detaching

is

all it

to

the

from


[CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

XI.]

CHAPTER Of

103

XI.

the hurt and hindrance resulting from apprehensions of the

understanding supernaturally produced through the instru How the soul is to be mentality of the outward senses.

guided under such circumstances.

THE

notions, mentioned in the foregoing chapter,

first

are those which relate to the understanding in the order

speak of them now, because I have discussed them in the first book, while showing I shall not

of nature.

how

be led into the night of sense, where I have given fitting directions concerning them. And therefore the subject of the present chapter will be those the soul

to

is

notions and apprehensions which relate to the under

standing solely in the supernatural order, in the way of the outward bodily senses of seeing, hearing, tasting,

spiritual

and

With

and touching.

smelling,

men

respect to all these,

are occasionally liable to representations

them

in a supernatural way. forms and figures of those of They sometimes see the another life, saints, or angels good and evil, or certain objects, set

before

extraordinary lights and brightness. words, sometimes seeing those

They have

They hear strange

who a

utter them,

and

sometimes

not.

at times of

most sweet odours, without knowing whence

they proceed. affected

;

sensible

Their sense of taste

is

perception

also deliciously

and that of the touch so sweetly caressed at marrow exult and rejoice,

times that the bones and the bathed, as

which we

it

were, in joy.

call the

This delight

is

like to that

unction of the Spirit, flowing from


THE ASCENT

104

[BOOK

II.]

Him

through all the senses of simple souls. And this sweetness is wont to affect spiritual persons, because of that sensible devotion, more or less, which sensible

own measure.

they have, every one in his 2.

Still,

though

senses in the

way

all

these

may happen

to the bodily

we must never rely on them, rather we must fly from them,

of God,

nor encourage them yea, without examining whether they be good or ;

evil.

For,

inasmuch as they are exterior and in the body, there is the less certainty of their being from God. It is more

God should communicate Himself through

natural that

the spirit

wherein there

is

greater security and profit

than through the senses, wherein there is usually much danger and delusion, because the bodily for the soul

sense

decides

thinking them to

and judges, spiritual things, be what itself feels them to be, when in

upon,

body and

reality they are as different as

The bodily

and reason.

sense

things as a beast of the reason.

and, at least, spirituality.

as ignorant of spiritual

field

He who makes much

and exposes himself

is

soul, sensuality

of the things of

is

of them mistakes his way,

danger of delusions places a great obstacle on his road to true For all these bodily matters bear no to the great

;

proportion to spiritual things.

There

always ground for fear that they proceed from the devil rather than from God for the devil has 3.

is

;

and corporeal, and can more easily deceive us therein than in what is more interior. And these bodily forms and objects, the

more

influence in that

which

is

exterior

they are, the less do they profit the interior spiritual man, by reason of the great distance

more

exterior


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XI.]

and disproportion and the

spiritual.

some

cate

105

between the corporeal

subsisting

For, although these things

spirituality, as

proceed from God, yet

it

always the case

is is

much

less

communi when they

than

would

it

have been, had they been more spiritual and interior and thus they become more easily and readily occasions

;

As

and vanity.

of error, presumption,

they are so

palpable and so material they excite the senses greatly, and the soul is led to consider them the more important, the more they are

It

felt.

runs after them and abandons

the secure guidance of faith, thinking that the light they give is a guide and means to that which it desires, union

with God.

Thus the

things, the

more

means, that itself

is,

it

more

soul, the

it

makes

of such

strays from the perfect way and

the faith.

Besides,

when

the soul perceives

subject to these extraordinary visitations, self-esteem

very frequently enters

in,

and

it

thinks itself to be some

thing in the eyes of God, which is contrary to humility. The devil also knows too well how to insinuate into the soul a secret,

For

this

and sometimes an open,

self-satisfaction.

end he frequently presents to the eyes the forms he causes voices well

of saints, and most beautiful lights

;

dissembled to strike the ear, and delicious odours the smell

;

he produces sweetness

in the

mouth, and

thrills of

pleasure in the sense of touch and all to make us long for such things that he may lead us astray into much ;

evil. 4.

For

disregard

this reason, then,

we must always

reject

these representations and sensations.

and For

even if some of them were from God, no wrong is offered to Him, because the effect and fruit, which He desires


THE ASCENT

106

[BOOK

to bring forth in the soul, is not the less

when

that soul rejects

reason

this

is

:

all

same

communications

from God,

moment

if

The

not.

corporeal visions or affection of

the

at the

accomplished

them and seeks them

of the other senses

II.]

any

true of all other interior

is

their chief object

effect

of their presence, before the soul has

time to deliberate whether

shall entertain or reject

it

For as God begins them in a supernatural way without effort on the part of the soul, and without

them.

them

respect to any capacity for

He desires

to

so the effect, which

;

produce by means of them,

is

wrought with

out reference to any effort or capacity of the soul perfected and brought

without

its free

will in

came

into contact with fire

its

5.

if

is

chiefly

body.

So

devil

if

it

:

fire

necessarily performs

functions.

the case with good visions and apparitions

the soul wills

and

it

specially

not, they

in

the

also the visions,

produce their

although they

God

so

effects,

which are the work of the

trouble or dryness of spirit,

are not

:

soul rather than in the

without the consent of the

visions of

it is

a person quite naked matters not whether he

as

is,

be burned or not, the

This

even

It

any way.

own proper

for

consent, and therefore does not depend

on the

wills to

;

the spirit passively

to pass in

vanity,

effectual

are for good.

soul

1

bring

forth

or presumption, for

evil,

as

the

Diabolic visions do not

proceed beyond the primary motions, neither can they and the influence the will, provided it seeks them not ;

disquiet which they occasion does not last long, unless the soul be negligent and irresolute when they occur.

But the visions of God penetrate

into the inmost parts of


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XI.]

107

and produce their effects, a quickened zeal and overpowering joy, which enable and dispose it to assent the soul,

and lovingly to good. StiJ, even when these outward visions and impressions come from God, if the freely

cleaves

soul

to

them and accepts them

readily, six

inconveniences follow. i.

The

perfect guidance of faith is lessened

the experience of sense derogates from faith as I have said, surpasseth

all sense,

;

;

because

for faith,

and thus the

soul,

by not closing turns ii.

its eyes against every object of sense, from the means of union with God. away

are hindrances in the

They

of the

way

spirit,

if

they are not rejected for the soul rests upon them, and does not regard the invisible. This, too, was one of ;

those reasons, of which our Lord spoke to His disciples, that

it

was expedient

for

that the Spirit might

Mary Magdalene

them that

come.

to kiss

His

He

should go

Neither did

He

away

permit

His resurrection,

feet, after

in order that she, as well as the disciples in the former

case, iii.

might be the more grounded

The

in faith.

soul clings selfishly to them,

and

advance to true resignation and detachment of iv.

The

soul

loses the

interior spirit they

good

produce,

the sensible part of them,

Thus that abundantly

spirit,

which

received

;

effect of

because

which

is

is

spirit.

them and the has regard to

the least important.

the proper

because that

impressed in the soul when

it

does not

we deny

fruit, is

is

not

so

most deeply

ourselves in

all

things of sense, as they are most at variance with the

pure

spirit.


THE ASCENT

108 v.

The

soul

assumes them

devil, that he

may

knows well how

profit rightly profit

of

to

transformeth himself

them opens the door

to the

dissemble and disguise his '

into

seem

to

be good;

an angel of

treat this question hereafter,

chapter on

come from God.

deceive us by others like them

visions so that they shall

by

he

;

own

for satan *

I shall

light.'

the grace of God, in the

spiritual 'gluttony in the third book.f

therefore expedient that the soul should close

eyes and reject them, come they whence they may.

we shall make way for him so much power over us,

we do

and give

it

;

believe that they

The ready admission

unless

J

seek them and to occupy ourselves with does not send them for this end neither

God should we easily

6. It is

God, because

own and not to

for our

II.

is to

them.

vi.

gifts of

own, and does not

for its

To assume them

by them. by them,

wasting the

is

[BOOK

evil visions

so

come

in the place of those

its

For

those of the devil, that not only will

which are

divines,

become so numerous, but, when that the devil will have every influence over us, and God none, as it has happened to many incautious and the latter cease, will also

ignorant souls.

These so

relied

on

their visions, that

them had great difficulty in returning to God many in pureness of faith, and many never returned at all so of

;

widely and so deeply had the roots of the devil grown within them. For this reason it is good to shut our ayes against these visions and to be afraid of them

withdrawing from the of the devil "*

2 Cor.

;

xi. 34.

evil visions

all.

By

we escape the delusions

by withdrawing from those which are good t Cb.

ix.

;

see also ihe

Dark Night, bk, \,

ch. vi.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XI.]

we put no still

obstacles in the

109

of faith, and the spirit

way

derives fruit from them.

7.

When

the soul gives admission readily to these

God withholds them, because

visions

cleaves to

it

them

and does not duly profit by them the devil also insinuates himself and multiplies his own visions, because the soul ;

makes room

But when the soul

them.

for

and not attached

that he cannot injure us then

God

placing

soul,

over

faithful servant to

been

The

things.'*

visitations

step

by

This

is

things, like the

many

whom

God

is said,

it

soul that

will not leave,

step, to the divine

the

He visits

humble and detached *

Because thou hast

faithful

He

it

up,

union and transformation. :

in the senses according to its capacity

;

temperance these

receiving in all

strength and nourishment,

the better

amid these

shall raise

our Lord tests and elevates the soul

way

it first

is

till

so that, having conducted itself then as

own

good and

over a few things, I will place thee over

faithful

many

resigned

and, on the other hand,

;

multiplies His graces in the it

is

to such visions the devil retires, seeing

and more abundant

overcome the devil on to the second

;

in the first

and

if it

it

ought

to do,

first

morsels for

may

be admitted to

feast.

combat

shall

it

its

If the soul shall it

shall then pass

be victorious there

also,

and then through the shall then pass on seven mansions, the seven degrees of love, until the to the third

it

Bridegroom

shall bring

it

;

to 'the cellar of

wine'f

or

perfect charity.

Blessed

is

that soul

which knoweth how

to fight

against the beast with seven heads,* which he opposes *

S.

Matt. xxv. 21.

t Cant

ii.

4.

+ Apoc.

xiii.

I.


THE ASCENT

110

[BOOK

II.

J

seven degrees of love. The beast fighteth against each of these degrees with his seven heads and with to the

;

each one of them against the soul in all the seven mansions, wherein the soul is tried and gains each degree of the love of God.

And, beyond

all

doubt,

if

the soul shall faithfully fight against every one of these

heads and obtain the victory, it will deserve to pass on from one degree to another, or from one mansion to the

have reached the highest, having destroyed the seven heads by which the beast waged so furious a war against it. So fearful is this war that the next, until

shall

it

'

Apostle says,

It

was given unto him

to

make war with

the saints and to overcome them,'* arraying his weapons

and munitions of war over against each of these degrees of love.

Many,

alas,

there are

who

enter the battle of the

spiritual life against the beast,

the

first

who do

not cut off even

head, by self-denial in the sensual objects of

this world.

but not the second speaking.

more

Others,

the visions of sense

But what cut off

who, having the third head

also,

successful, cut off the

is

more

which

still is,

painful

not only the

first

first,

of which I that

am

some

and second, but

relates to the interior senses

and the passage from the state of meditation into a higher one, are overcome when they should enter into the purity of the spirit

by the

beast,

assault with his heads restored to latter state

him

The

'

worse than the

seven other spirits

spiritual

man must *

Ibid. 7.

first,'

who

life,

for

returns to the

and renders

'theii'

he bringeth with

more wicked than

himself.' t

therefore reject all these appret S. Luke

xi. 26.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XI. J

Ill

hensions, together with the bodily satisfactions to which

the exterior senses are liable,

he would destroy the

if

first

and second head of the

first

and second mansion of love by a living

laying hold

by entering

into the

faith,

not

nor being embarrassed by, the impres

of,

of the

sions

beast,

exterior

senses

;

for

these present the

greatest impediment to the spiritual night of faith. It is

8.

now

clear that these visions

of sense cannot be the

and apprehensions

means of the divine union,

for

And this is one of they bear no proportion to God. the reasons why Christ would not suffer Mary Magda lene to touch

more

perfect

greatly

Him, and yet allowed it, as the better and course, to St. Thomas. The devil rejoices

when

to accept

a soul seeks after revelations and

them

for

;

is

ready such conduct furnishes him with

opportunities of insinuating delusions, and dero

many

gating from faith as much as he possibly can for such a soul becomes rough and rude, and falls frequently into ;

many I

temptations and unseemly habits.

have dwelt at some length on these exterior com order to throw greater light on the

munications in others,

much

which

to say

I

on

have done with

have soon to discuss. this

it.

this single sentence

matter that I ;

it

But

I

have so

appears impossible to

might sum up what

I

have said

in

that these visions should never be

admitted, unless in certain rare instances, after examina tion

by a

learned, spiritual,

and experienced

and even then there must be no desire

for

them.

director,


THE ASCENT

112

CHAPTER Of

[BOOK

XII.

and imaginary apprehensions. Their nature. They cannot be proportionate means of union. The evil results of not knowing how to detach oneself from them in time.

natural

BEFORE

discussing

wont

be

to

the

are

supernaturally to the interior

represented

now

should

which

visions

imaginary

sense, the imagination and the fancy, I

II.]

it

expedient that

is

speak of the natural

to proceed orderly

apprehensions incident to the same interior bodily sense. I

this course that

adopt

to the greater

which

from that which

more inward

is

wherein the soul course

we may advance from

is

to that

is

more outward

most

to that

interior recollection

united with God.

have hitherto observed.

I

the less

This, too,

In the

first

is

the I

place,

treated of the detachment of the soul from the natural

apprehensions

of

exterior

objects,

from the natural powers of the the

then treated in

liable

consequently,

This

I

did in

book,* while speaking of the night of sense.

first

natural

and,

desires.

I

detail of detachment from exterior super

apprehensions, to which the exterior senses are as in the preceding chapter

so that

I

may

guide

the steps of the soul into the night of the spirit in this

second book. 2.

Now

the

first

bodily sense, the

we must

cast

all

subject

of discussion

for

the interior

imagination and fancy, out of which

imaginary forms

naturally incident thereto, and is

is

and apprehensions

show how impossible

the soul to attain to union with *

Bk.

I ch. iv.

God

it

until their


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XII.]

operations shall have ceased, because they can never be the proper and proximate 3.

The

means of union.

senses of which I

am now

speaking particularly

are two, bodily and interior, called imagination and fancy,

which

one there

and

is

in their order subserve

each other.

In the

something of reasoning, though imperfect

an imperfect way; the other, the imagination, forms the image. For our purpose the discussion of in

either is equivalent to that of the other,

and therefore

when

be understood

I

do not mention them both

that

what

also,

and that

is

said of the one I

am

is

let it

applicable to the other

speaking indifferently of both, with

out distinguishing between them. 4. All, therefore,

that the senses perceive

are called imaginations and fancies

that

is,

and fashion forms repre

sented to the senses in bodily shape and likeness.

may

take

place

two ways

in

without the action

of the

These

supernaturally when,

senses,

they

may and do

become present passively before them. These are called imaginary visions wrought supernaturally, of which I shall

The other way is natural, when effect them by their own operation,

speak hereafter.*

the senses actively

through forms, figures, and images. These two powers serve for meditation, which is a discursive act by means of imagery, forms, and figures, wrought and fashioned in the senses. picture to ourselves Christ on the

We

cross, or

bound

to the pillar, or

throne in great majesty.

a most beautiful

light, *

So

also

God sitting on His we imagine glory as

and represent before ourselves Ch. xxiv.

i.


THE ASCENT any other

object,

of imagination

is

human

[BOOK

11.

J

or divine, of which the faculty

capable.

All these imaginations and apprehensions are to be emptied out of the soul, which must remain in darkness 5.

so far as

it

concerns the senses, in order that

attain to the divine union, because they bear tion to the proximate

we may

no propor

means of union with God

;

as

neither do bodily things, the objects of the five exterior senses. 6. The reason is, that nothing enters the imagination but through the exterior senses. The eye must have seen, or the ear must have heard, or the other senses must

first

have become cognisant of all that is in it. Or at we can only form pictures of what we have

the utmost, seen,

heard, or felt;

excellent than

the senses.

and these forms are not more

what the imagination has received through

Though we

picture

in

our

imagination

palaces of pearls and mountains of gold, because

we

have seen gold and pearls, yet after all this is nothing more than one piece of gold or a single pearl, even

though the imagination ranges them

And

in a certain order.

as created things, as I said before,* cannot have

any proportion with the being of God,

it

follows that all

the conceptions of the imagination, which must resemble

them, cannot serve as proximate means of union with

Him. Those persons, minds under any

therefore, who represent

or anything else, thinking far

God to their

sort of figure, or as a great fire or light,

Him

from drawing near unto Him.

to

siderations, forms,

be like them, are very For though such con

and methods of meditation may be Ch. viil


OF MOUNT CAKMEL.

[CHAP. XII.]

115

necessary for beginners, in order to inflame and fill their souls with love, through the instrumentality of sense, as

and though they may serve as remote means of union, through which souls must I shall explain hereafter*

usually pass to the goal and resting-place of spiritual

they must so make use of them as to pass beyond them, and not dwell upon them for ever. 7. If we dwell upon them we shall never reach the still

repose

goal,

which

not like the remote means, neither has

is

it

any proximate relation with them. The steps of a ladder have no proximate relation with the goal and place to which we ascend by it, towards which they are but means so if he who climbs does not leave behind all ;

steps so that

none remain, or

if

he

rests

upon one of

them, he will never ascend to the summit, to the peaceful resting of the goal. The soul, therefore, that will ascend

supreme good and

must pass

this

life

to the

beyond

all

these steps of considerations, forms, and

in

rest

no likeness or proportion to the end, which is God, towards which it tends. 'We may not suppose,' saith the Apostle, the Divinity to be like unto gold, or silver, or stone, the graving of art and

notions, because they bear

'

device of man.' f 8.

Great, therefore,

is

the mistake of those spiritual

persons who, having laboured to draw near unto

God

by means of imagery, forms, and meditations, such as become beg nners while God would attract them to the more spiritual, interior, and unseen good, by depriving them of the joy and sweetness of discursive meditationdo not accept the guidance, neither venture nor know how * 12

Ch. xv.

t Acts

xvii. 29.


THE ASCENT

116 to detach themselves

[BOOK

from these sensible methods

to

II.]

which

they have been accustomed. They retain these methods still, seeking to advance by them and by meditation upon exterior forms, as before, thinking that

it

must be so

always. 9.

They take great pains sweetness or none

little

in the matter, but find very

yea, rather dryness, weariness,

;

and disquiet of soul increase and grow the more they search after the sweetness they had before, because it is

now

impossible for them to have

The

soul has

it

as they

had

it

as

first.

no more pleasure in the food, as I have said already,* which was of the senses, but requires another of greater delicacy, interior, and less cognisable by the senses, consisting, not in the travail of the imagination, but in the repose of the soul, and in that quietness thereof, which

more

is

the soul advances in spirituality, the

the operations of it

then gives

and so

its

itself

The more

spiritual.

more

it

ceases from

on particular objects for sole, pure, and general act

its faculties

to

up

one

;

;

powers cease from the practice of that method

by which they once travelled towards the point to which the soul was tending as the feet cease from movement ;

and are

at rest

when

the journey

is

over

movement, there would be no goal things are means, where or when

for if all

;

to reach,

shall

we

and

were if all

enjoy the

end? 10.

be it

at

How sad

it is

to see

men who, when

peace in the repose of interior quiet,

with refreshment and peace, disturb

outward things, compel *

it

it,

the soul would

where God

draw

it

fills

away

to

to travel again along the road

Bk.

i,

ch. v.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XII.] it

had passed, and

abandon the

to

the sake of the means and

for

guided

This

to its rest.

it

is

117

goal,

where

it

reposes,

which

consider ati 3ns

not

without

effected

loathing and repugnance on the part of the soul, which

would repose it

happens

repose

;

to

for

in this tranquillity as in its

him who

when he

new

secret of their

be

to

idle,

made

is

And

feels it painfully.

proper place as has attained

after toilsome labour

to return to his

work he

as they do not understand the

condition, they imagine themselves

doing nothing

and so do not

;

suffer

them

selves to be at rest, but strive to reproduce their former reflections

and discursive

acts.

They

are therefore

of dryness and trouble, because they seek

sweetness where there

there for

no longer sweetness

is

full

for

them.

To them the proverb applies, 'the more it freezes the more it binds the more obstinately they cling to this '

;

the worse

becomes

their soul further

for them, because they lead from This is to spiritual peace. away

abandon what

greatest for

way

it

is

what

is

least, to travel

backwards along the road they came, and do again what they have done before. 11.

To

these

my

counsel

tion in loving waiting

is

learn to abide with atten

upon God in the

state of quiet; give

no heed to your imagination, nor to its operations, for now, as I have said, the powers of the soul are at rest,

and are not exercised, except waiting of love. violently,

by

in the sweet

and pure

If at times they are excited,

it

is

not

nor with meditation elaborately prepared, but more under the influence of

the sweetness of love,

God than

of the ability of the soul, as I shall hereafter

clearly explain.* *Cook

iii,

ch. xxxvi.


THE ASCENT

118 12.

Let

it is

necessary

for the

this,

for those

when

suffice

present,

ways

II.]

show how

to

who would make

abandon these methods and the proper time,

[BOOK

progress, to

of the imagination at

their growth, in that state wherein

they are, requires it. And that we may know when this time is come, I shall describe certain signs which the

man

spiritual

to

is

discern in himself, that he

thereby recognise the time

when he may

may

freely avail

himself of the goal already mentioned, and leave behind him all intellectual reflections and all acts of the imagination.

CHAPTER The

signs to

when

to

XIII.

be observed by the spiritual man that he may know withdraw the understanding from imaginary forms

and discursive meditations.

To

avoid confusion in

my

in this chapter to explain

teaching, I find

when

the spiritual

it

necessary should

man

abstain from the meditation which rests on imaginary

forms and mental representations, in order that he may abstain from it neither sooner nor later than when the

For as

Spirit calls him.

necessary to abstain from it at the proper time, in order to draw near unto God, that we may not be hindered by it ; so also must we not cease from

though

all

it

it

is

before the time, lest

we go backwards

that the powers of the soul

:

for

may apprehend who have

cannot be proximate means of union for those

made some

spiritual progress, still they serve, as

means, In that

which

is

remote

and habituate the minds of beginners spiritual by means of the senses, and to

to dispose


[CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

XIII.]

clear the

way

119

and images,

of all other low forms

With this view I will temporal, worldly, and natural. mention here certain signs and evidences, three in number, by observing which the spiritual man may know whether the time is come for him to cease from meditation or not. 1.

When

i.

he finds he cannot meditate nor exert his

imagination, nor derive any satisfaction from it, as he was wont to do when he finds dryness there, where he

was accustomed and

to fix the senses

then the time

ness

2.

forth sweet

come. But while he finds sweetness,

able to meditate as usual, let

is

therefrom, except shall

is

and draw

when

him not cease

his soul is in peace, of

which

I

speak when describing the third sign. ii.

When

he sees that he has no inclination to

fix the

imagination or the senses on particular objects, exterior or interior. I do not

comes nor goes

mean when

for

disorderly even in the most

is

it

the imagination neither

but complete self-recollection no pleasure from tying

derives

when the soul down deliberately to

only it

other matters.

The third namely, when the 3.

iii.

sign

is

the most certain of the three,

soul delights to be alone, waiting

lovingly on God, without any particular considerations, in interior peace, quiet,

and repose, when the acts and memory, and will, at

exercises of the understanding, least discursively

which

is

the going from one subject

have ceased; nothing remaining except that and attention, general and loving, of which knowledge I have spoken, without the particular perception of to another

aught

else.


THE ASCENT

120

The

4.

spiritual

[BOOK

man must have

II.]

observed these three

signs together, at least, before he can venture with safety to abandon the state of meditation for that of the way of spiritual contemplation.

observe the

first

not enough for him to

It is

without the second, for

may happen

it

that he cannot meditate on the things of God, as before, because of distractions and the absence of due prepar ation.

sign,

He

must therefore have regard to the second and see whether he has no inclination or desire to

think of other things.

For when

this inability to fix the

imagination and the senses on the things of God proceeds from distraction or lukewarmness, the soul readily inclines to other matters,

and these lead

it

away from

God. Neither

5.

is it sufficient

have observed the first and

to

second sign if we do not also discern the third. For though we cannot meditate or think on the things of God,

and have no pleasure either in dwelling upon anything else yet this may be the effect of melancholy or some ;

other oppression of the brain or the heart, which is wont to produce a certain suspension of our faculties, so that

think upon nothing, nor desire to do so, nor have any inclination thereto, but rather remain in a kind of

we

soothing astonishment. By way of defence against this, we must be sure of the third sign, which is a loving

knowledge and attention

in peace, as I

however, true that in the this

loving knowledge

because subtile in the

it

and

is

as

is,

it

delicate,

second place, the

it

soul,

said.

It

is,

of this state

were, imperceptible,

then wont to be, in the

and as

have

commencement first

were, unfelt

;

place,

most

and because,

having been accustomed to


MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xiv] meditation, which perceive, and, as

it

is

more cognisable by

were, does not feel this

not subject to sense, and which

This

6.

is

121

is

sense, does not

new condition,

purely spiritual.

the case especially when, through not under

standing his condition, the spiritual man will not allow himself to rest therein, but will strive after that which is cognisable by sense. This striving, notwithstanding the abundance of loving interior peace, robs him of the sense

and enjoyment of

But the more the soul

it.

for this tranquillity, the

tinually

;

more

will

and the more conscious

it

it

grow

more

clear, I shall

disposed

therein con

be of this general sweeter to it than all

will

loving knowledge of God, which is besides, because it brings with it peace and ness and delight without trouble.

is

To make

rest,

sweet

this matter

explain in the following chapter

why

these three signs are necessary for the direction of the soul.

CHAPTER The

The

As

fitness of these signs.

necessity of observing

to the first sign,

XIV.

it is

them

to

for spiritual progress.

be observed that there are

two reasons, comprised as it were in one, why the spiritual man if he is to enter on the life of the spirit, which is

must abandon the way of the imagination and sensible meditation, when he has no pleasure in it and is no longer able to make his wonted

that of contemplation

reflection.

found,

The

by way

first is,

that

all

the spiritual good to be

of meditation in the things of God, has

been already in a manner bestowed upon him.

This

is


THE ASCENT

122

[BOOK

II.]

shown by the fact that he cannot now make his former meditations and reflections, and that he has no pleasure had

or satisfaction therein as he

not then attained to the spiritual

life.

whenever the soul receives a fresh receives

it

with pleasure, at least in

spirit, in

comes, and it profits by whereby This profiting would be miraculous. the

nourishes

philosophical ;

and

?

'*

The

reason, then,

now 2.

derives from

and

is this

and habitually

:

God

its fruit.

is

is

its

palatable '

Can an

not seasoned with

profit

is

no longer

which the mind

the soul has

now attained

to the spirit of meditation.

For the end of meditation and of

is

means

it.

The second reason

substantially

the

it

in accordance

meditation

why

possible, is the little pleasure

;

is

grace

otherwise

words of Job,

also with the

unsavoury thing be eaten that salt

it

What

saying,

in general,

And,

spiritual

it

with

he had

before, because

reflection

on the things

have the knowledge and the love of Him as Each time this is done, it is an act, and as acts

to

often repeated produce habits, so,

made by

knowledge continuously

acts of loving the soul, beget the

many

habit thereof in the course of time.

God

is

wont

times to effect this without these acts of meditation least without

many

of

them

at at

leading souls at once into

*he state of contemplation. Thus, what the soul obtained Before, at intervals,

by

*cts of knowledge, is

dint of meditation, in particular

now

by. practice converted into the

habit and substance of knowledge, loving, general, not distinct, or particular, as before.

betaking

itself to

prayer *

Job

vi.

And, like

6.

a

therefore, such a

man

with water


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xrv.] before

him

drinks sweetly without

necessity of drawing

it

and

reflections, forms,

123 without the

effort,

through the channel of previous

And

figures.

the

moment such

soul places itself in the presence of God,

a

makes an

it

act of knowledge, confused, loving, peaceful, and tranquil, wherein it drinks in wisdom, love, and sweetness. 3.

This

disgusted tations

the reason

is

when compelled,

and

the soul

why

is

troubled and

in this state, to

make medi

to labour in particular acts of

knowledge. an infant at the breast, was sucking it, and bidden to

Its condition, then, is like that of

withdrawn from procure

it

while

it

own or of one when tasting the

nourishment by

its

efforts of its

;

who, having removed the rind, is, contained, bidden to cease therefrom and to

fruit it

peel

rind already removed, and then finds no

away the

rind and loses the fruit he

who with

had

in his

loses a prize already in his power.

many who have begun

They think

to enter

hand This

upon

like is

one

the case

this

state.

that the whole matter consists in discursive

the

meditations, in

understanding of particulars by

means of forms and images, which are the rind of the spiritual

life.

When

and substantial

they do not find these in that loving

quiet,

and where nothing

where the soul desires to dwell,

distinct reaches the understanding,

they suppose themselves to be going astray, wasting their time, and so go in quest of the rind of images and discursive meditation, not

now

to

be found, because long

ago taken away. Thus they do not enjoy the substance, neither can they meditate and so they vex themselves, ;

thinking that they are going backwards, are lost.

This

is

and that they

certainly true, but not in the

way they


THE ASCENT

124

mean

they are lost to their

:

own

[BOOK

sense, to their first

perceptions and understanding, which to gain the spiritual

which

life

is

II.]

nothing else but given unto them for is

;

the less they understand, the further do they enter into

through which they have to pass in order to be united with God, in a way that surpasses the night of the

all

spirit,

understanding.

4.

There

because

it

is

but

little for

me

to say of the second sign,

evident that the soul has necessarily no

is

pleasure at that time in other those of the world, seeing that

imaginary representations, it has none, for the reasons

already given, in those which are most befitting

it,

the imaginative faculty, in this state of recollection,

wont

to

as

Only, as I have said before,

those of the things of God.

is

come, and go, and vary, but without the consent and without giving it any pleasure; yea,

of the soul

rather, the soul is then afflicted thereby, because of the

interruption of 5.

its

peace and sweetness.

Nor do I think it necessary here to speak

fitness

discern

whereby we may cease from meditation. That

and necessity of the

when we

are to

a knowledge

at all of the

third sign,

and attention

to, God, general have explained this in some degree while speaking of the first sign and I have to treat of it again

sign

is

and loving.

of,

I

;

directly,*

when

I

speak of that general, confused know apprehensions of propose now to mention one

ledge, after discussing the particular

the understanding.

But

reason only, which will

I

make

it

clear

or general loving knowledge of God, * Bk. n,

ch. xxxii.

why is

this attention,

necessary,

when


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xiv.]

man

the spiritual

125

passes from the state of meditation to

that of contemplation.

That reason

6.

is this

:

if

the soul were without this

knowledge or sense of God's presence at that time, the result would be that it would have nothing, and do nothing for having ceased from meditation, wherein the soul acts discursively, by means of the senses and con ;

templation not yet attained to, which is that general knowledge, wherein the spiritual powers of the soul,

memory, understanding, and will, are exerted, and united this knowledge, which is as it were effected and

in

received in

them

of necessity

fail

;

every act of the worship of God must for the soul cannot act at all, nor receive

impressions, nor persevere in the

but in the It is

way

work

it

has before

it,

of these two powers of sense and spirit.

by the bodily senses that the soul

search out, and effect the knowledge

is

able to

of things

reflect, ;

and

by the spiritual sense to rejoice in the knowledge thus attained without further labour,

The

difference

between these two conditions of the soul is

like the difference fruit

by

it

of our ;

work

;

between working, and enjoyment of the between receiving a gift, and profiting

between the

journey's end

;

search, or reflection.

of travelling, and the rest at our

toil

between the preparation of our food, and it. If the soul be idle, not

the eating or enjoyment of occupied, either with reflection, or

with

its

bodily faculties in meditation and

its spiritual faculties

and pure knowledge,

it

is

in contemplation

impossible to say that

it is

This knowledge is therefore necessary occupied at all. for the abandonment of the way of meditation and reflection.


THE ASCENT

126

But

7.

be remembered that

to

it is

am

ledge, of

which

delicate

particularly

spiritual,

and

speaking,

is

when most

at times so subtle

knowledge

which

it is

when

all

pure, simple, perfect,

it

is

it.

most pure,

This

Such a

soul,

is

and

clear,

enters into a soul most pure

other acts of knowledge and special

perceptions, to which the understanding or the sense cling.

and

that the soul, though in the prac

that

and detached from

II.]

know

this general

not observant or conscious of

when

the case simple,

I

interior

tice thereof, is

[BOOK

because freed from

all

may

those things

which were actually and habitually objects of the under standing or of the sense, is not aware of them, because the accustomed objects of sense have failed the reason

why

this

it.

This

is

knowledge, when most pure, perfect,

and simple, is the less perceived by the understanding, and is the most obscure. On the other hand, when this knowledge is less pure and simple the more clear and the more important it seems to the understanding ;

because

it is

mixed up

with, clothed

certain intelligible forms, of

most easily takes cognisance,

When

enough.

to its hurt. will

make

particles of dust, they are then

more

pure, simple, and :

also,

plain

is full

of atoms

more palpable, and

and yet those rays are then less perfect, because mixed up with so much

visible to the eye

impurity

this

the rays of the sun penetrate through a

crevice into a dark room, the air in which

and

in,

which the understanding

The following comparison

8.

in,

or involved

;

when they

are most pure and most free

from dust, the less are they cognisable by the material eye

;

and the more pure they are the

and considered.

If,

less are

they seen

again, these rays were altogether


/r:

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xiy.]

pure, clear of every atom,

would be

dust, they

absence of

all objects

pure and simple light

127

and of the minutest

particle of

by reason of the

utterly invisible,

whereon the eye could

rest

for

;

not properly the object of vision, but the means whereby we discern visible things and so, if there be no visible objects present to reflect the is

;

Hence, then, a ray of light nothing can be seen. entering in by one crevice and going out by another, unaffected by any material object, cannot be seen and

light,

;

yet that ray

is

more pure and

distinctly seen

clear than

when

it is

most

through being mixed up with visible

objects.

Such are the conditions of the

9.

regard to the eye of the soul, which

spiritual light with

is

the understanding,

knowledge and supernatural light strikes so purely and so plainly. So clear is it of all intelligible forms, which are the adequate objects of the

against which

this

understanding, that the understanding of its presence. Sometimes, indeed it

pure

creates

darkness,, because

it

is

not conscious

when

it

is

most

withdraws

the

understanding from its accustomed lights, forms, and fantasies, and then the darkness becomes palpable and visible.

10.

At

other times, also, the divine light strikes the soul

with such force that the darkness

unheeded and

is

;

is

unfelt

and the

the soul seems unconscious of

therefore lost, as

it

all it

light

knows,

were, in forgetfulness,

knowing unaware of

nor what has happened to it, It may and does occur that many the lapse of time. hours pass while it is in this state of forgetfulness all not

where

it is,

;

seem but a moment when

it

again returns to

itself.

The


THE ASCENT

123

cause of this forgetfulness

is

[BOOK

II.]

the pureness and simplicity

of this knowledge, which, being itself pure and clear, cleanses the soul while

and

it fills it,

purifies

of all the

it

apprehensions and forms of sense and memory through which it once acted, and thus brings it to a state ot

and unconsciousness of the

forgetfulness,

flight of time.

This prayer of the soul, though in reality long, seems to last but for a moment, because it is an act of pure intelligence

for

;

it is

that prayer which

the clouds,'* time being unheeded while

the clouds because the soul

said to

is it

lasts

:

it

'

pierce pierces

then in union with the

is

heavenly Intelligence. This knowledge leaves behind it in the soul, when awake, all the effects it then wrought, without any consciousness on the part of the soul that they were wrought. These effects are the lifting up of the soul to the heavenly Intelligence, the withdrawal

and estrangement of it from forms and figures of them. 11.

Thus '

self, said,

and from the

who, when he returned to him have watched, and am become as the lonely befel David,

it

I

all things,

'

expresses his Lonely sparrow on the housetop.' f estrangement and detachment from all things and the housetop the lifting up of the soul on high. The soul '

;

'

'

is

now, as

it

knows God

were, ignorant of

only, without

all

things, because

knowing how.

The

it

bride also

speaks of this ignorance as one of the effects of this sleep or forgetfulness, saying, I knew not :'+ that is, I know '

not how.

Though he

to

whose

soul

is

given this

know

ledge seems to be doing nothing and to be wholly *

Ecclus. xxxv. 21.

t Ps.

ci. 8.

Oratio humiliantis se nubes penetratit.

t Cant,

vi, IX.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP xiv.]

129

unoccupied, because the imagination has ceased to act, he still believes that the time has not been lost or use

though the harmonious correspondence of the powers of the soul has ceased, the understanding

lessly spent

:

for

The bride in her wisdom question, when she says, I sleep,

thereof abides as I say.

answers herself

and

this

*

my heart watcheth and cease from

state,

supernaturally, lifted

'

*

:

I sleep in

up

my

A

knowledge. discern whether the soul

pleasure in the thought of

we

natural

in supernatural

occupied in this secret intelligence

12. Still

my

heart watcheth

by which we may

sign

though

all exertion,

is,

that

it

is

has no

anything high or low.

are not to suppose that this knowledge

necessarily induces this forgetfulness

the reality of

;

it

does not depend on this. This forgetfulness occurs when God in a special way suspends the faculties of the soul.

This does not often occur, for this knowledge does not

always

fill

the whole soul.

It is sufficient for the

purpose

that the understanding should be withdrawn from all

whether temporal or spiritual, should have no inclination to dwell

particular knowledge,

and that the

upon

either.

will

This sign serves to show that the soul

when

is

in this state of forgetfulness,

is

furnished and communicated to the understanding

only.

But when

which

is

it

is

communicated

this

knowledge

to the will also,

almost always the case in a greater or less degree, the soul cannot but see, if it will reflect thereon,

that

it is

occupied by this knowledge

;

because

it is

then

conscious of the sweetness of love therein, without any particular knowledge or perception of what it loves *

Cant.

v. 3.


THE ASCENT

130 13.

This

the reason

is

ing and general

;

[BOOK

II.

J

why this knowledge is called lov

for as

communicates

it

itself

obscurely

to the understanding, so also to the will, infusing therein

love

and

sweetness

confusedly,

without

the

soul's

knowing distinctly the object of its love. Let this suffice to show how necessary it is for the soul to be occupied oy

this

knowledge, in order that

and

meditation,

to feel

it

may

leave the

way

of

notwithstanding the

assured,

appearance of doing nothing, that it is well employed, if it discerns the signs of which I am speaking. It appears, also,

from the illustration drawn from the shining of the

sun's rays, full of atoms, that the soul this light to it

be then most pure,

itself to

presents

is

subtile,

the understanding

not to imagine

and

clear,

when

more palpably and

more comprehensibly. For it is certain, according to Aristotle and theologians, that the more pure and sublime the divine light

is,

the

more obscure

it is

to our

understanding.

have much to say of this divine knowledge, both is in itself, and in its effects upon contemplatives but

14. I

as

it

;

I reserve

it

for its proper place.

The

present discussion

would not have been so long had it not been requisite that the subject should be left in somewhat less confu sion than case.

it is

at present,

Over and above the

which

I

must admit

mouth, because

my

it is

in itself strange

poor method and

without confidence in

be the

fact that this subject is rarely

treated in this way, whether in writing or

also

to

little

my own

by word

of

and obscure, comes,

knowledge.

I

capacity to explain

am it,

and therefore grow prolix and wearisome, exceeding the just limits required for the explanation of this division


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xv.] of the subject.

I

ally on purpose by one view of it

;

I

consider that I

what

is

admit that

I

131

have done

this occasion

cannot be explained be another and only because may by have in this way thrown more light on for a subject that

;

For

to follow.

this reason, in order to conclude

this part of the subject, I think I

ought to solve one

question concerning the duration of this knowledge,

which

propose to do in the following chapter.

I

CHAPTER XV. Of

the occasional necessity of meditating

and exerting the natural to enter on the con

on the part of those who begin

faculties

templative state.

HERE

it

may be

God has begun

asked, whether proficients, those

to lead into this supernatural

of contemplation, are, in virtue of this

whom

knowledge

commencement,

never again to return to the way of meditation, reflections, and natural forms To this I answer, that it is not to ?

be supposed that those who have begun to have this pure and loving knowledge are never to meditate again

For in the beginning of their advancement the habit of this is not so perfect as that they should be

or attempt

it.

able at pleasure to perform the acts of

Neither are

it.

they so far advanced beyond the state of ineditation as to be unable to meditate and make their reflections as before,

and

to find therein

when we

see,

by

something new.

Yea, rather, at

not occupied in this quiet, or knowledge,

sary to

have recourse to

the habit of

it

in

first,

the help of these signs, that our soul it

reflections, until

some degree

is

will

be neces

we

attain to

of perfection.

Such

will


THE ASCENT

132

be the case when, as often as

[BOOK

we apply

JJ.]

ourselves to

meditation, the soul reposes in this peaceful knowledge, without the power or the inclination to meditate because, :

until

we

arrive at this, sometimes one, sometimes the

other, occurs in this time of proficiency in such a

that very often the

peaceful attendance upon God, with

all its faculties in

repose; and very often also will find

it

necessary, for

that end, to have recourse to meditation, calmly

But when

moderation.

state

this

is

and with

attained

meditation ceases, and the faculties labour no more

then

we may

way

soul finds itself in this loving or

to, ;

foi

rather say, that intelligence and sweetness

are wrought in the soul, and that

it itself

abstains from

every effort, except only that it attends lovingly upon God, without any desire to feel or see anything further

than to be in the hands of God,

Himself to the to

But we must take

to receive in pureness

light, that

communicates

soul, thus passive, as the light of the

him whose eyes are open.

we wish

Who now

no other

lights of

sun

care,

ii

and abundance this divine knowledge, or forms, or

more palpable kind, intervene, kind bears any resemblance to that nothing ol this serene and clear light. And, therefore, if at that time we

figures of meditations, of a for

seek to

apprehend and

however

spiritual

pure and limpid

they

reflect

may

be,

on particular objects,

we

light of the Spirit,

clouds before us, as a

man who

shall obstruct the

by interposing these

should place anything

before his eyes impedes the vision of things beyond. 2.

It

appears, then, from all this that the soul,

when

it

have purified and emptied itself from all these intelligible forms and images, will then dwell in this pure shall


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xv.]

and simple

light,

perfection.

This light

transformed thereto in the state of ever ready to be communicated

is

to the soul, but does not flow in,

and

13?

because of the forms

which infold and embarrass the

veils of the creature

Take away these hindrances and coverings, as I and the soul in detachment and of will then, being pure and simple, be poverty spirit soul.

shall hereafter explain,

transformed in the pure and sincere divine Wisdom who is the Son of God. For then that which is natural

having

failed, that

into the

without 3.

which

is

enamoured soul filling

;

divine flows supernaturally

for

God

leaves

it

not empty

it.

When the spiritual man is unable to meditate, let him

learn to remain in loving attention to God, in the quiet of his understanding, though he

nothing.

For thus by

little

and

will the divine tranquillity

may seem

to

be doing

and most rapidly,

little,

and peace, from

this

mar

and deep knowledge of God, involved in the Let him not divine love, be infused into his soul. vellous

meddle with forms, imagery, meditations, or of any kind, that he may not disquiet his

reflections

and

soul,

drag it out of its peace and contentment into that which can only end in bitterness. And if this inactivity should be a cause of scruples, let him remember that it is

rest,

not a slight matter to possess our soul in peace and

without

This

effort or desire.

requires at our hands, saying,

'

Be

is

still,

and see that

Learn to be interiorly empty of you will see with delight that I am God.

God.'*

PS. xiv. ii.

what our Lord

all things,

I

am

and


THE ASCENT

134

CHAPTER

[BOOK

II.]

XVI.

Of imaginary apprehensions supernaturally represented to the fancy. They cannot be proximate means of union with God.

AND now having

treated of those impressions which the

soul receives in the order of nature,

the imagination and the fancy,

and which exercise necessary to discuss

it is

those which are supernatural, called imaginary visions,

inasmuch as they are images, forms, and appertain to sense, like those which are in the

and which figures,

also,

Under

order of nature. visions,

I

include

the designation of imaginary

everything which

may

be

super to the represented imagination naturally by images, forms, figures, or impressions, and these of the most perfect kind, which represent things,

and influence us more

and more perfectly than natural order of the senses. For vividly

is

it

possible in the

these impressions

all

and images which the five senses represent to the soul, and which establish themselves within it in a natural way,

may

also

have their place there

in a

without

therein

way

that

is

inter

any supernatural, represented vention whatever on the part of the outward senses.

The sense of fancy and memory

is,

house of the understanding, where are treasured

as

all

it

were, a store

forms and objects

and thus the understanding considers

up them and forms judgments about them. 2.

We must,

;

therefore,

remember

that as the five out

ward senses propose and represent to the interior senses the images and pictures of their objects; so in a super-


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xvi.]

135

natural way, without the intervention of the outward senses,

may be represented the same images and pictures, and that much more vividly and perfectly. And thus by means of images God frequently shows many things to the soul, and teaches it wisdom, as we see throughout the Holy

He showed His glory in the cloud which covered the tabernacle;* and between the seraphim

Scriptures.

which covered wings.f

and

to

their

faces

and

their

feet

with their

To Jeremias He showed *a rod watching;':}: Daniel a multitude of visions.

The

with visions of his own, seemingly have an instance good, labours to delude the soul. 3.

devil, also,

We

of

it

in the history of the

we

kings of Israel, where

read

that he deceived the prophets of Achab, to

them the

push Syria

figure of horns,

till

he destroyed

by representing which the by king was to

it.

Yet, all

was a

delusion.

also was the vision of Pilate's wife concerning the condemnation of Christ, and many others.

Such

In the case of those

4.

who have made some

spiritual

more frequent visions. There is

progress, visions of the imagination are of

occurrence than bodily and' exterior no difference between them and those of the outward senses, considered as

images and representations

;

but

they produce, and in their perfectness they are more pure, and make a on the soul, inasmuch as they are deeper impresssion there

is

a great difference in the

effect

:

supernatural and at the

same time more

the exterior supernatural visions,

still,

interior

notwithstanding,

some bodily exterior visions produce a greater *

Exod.

$

Jer.

i.

xl.

ii.

33.

t

Is.

than

vi.

effect, for

2.

3 Kings xxii.

u,

12,


THE ASCENT

i36 this of

depends on the

will of

them as they are

in

God

[BOOK but

;

am

I

speaking

as being

themselves,

II.]

more

interior. 5.

The sense

of fancy

and imagination is ordinarily that

which the devil applies himselt with all his cunning, because it is the portal of the soul, and there too the to

understanding takes up, or leaves,

For

storehouse. devil too

come

its

this reason, therefore,

hither with images

wares as in a

God and

and forms

the

to

be

presented to the understanding; though God does not make use only of this means to teach the soul, seeing that

He

dwells substantially within

so directly

it,

and

is

able to do

by Himself, and by other methods.

not stop here to explain certain visions are from

object now,

my

I shall

how it may be known whether God or not, for that is not my

sole purpose being to direct the

standing, so that, in the

way

under

of union with the divine

be embarrassed or hindered by those wisdom, it which are good, nor deluded by those which are evil. shall not

6. I say, therefore,

with respect to

all

these impressions

ind imaginary visions, and others of whatever kind they may be, which present themselves under forms or images, or any particular intelligible forms, whether false as coming from the devil, or known to be true as

coming from God, that the understanding

is

not to

itself about them, nor feed itself upon them the must not willingly accept them, nor rest upon them, in order that it may be detached, naked, pure, and

perplex

;

soul

sincerely simple,

union.

which

The reason

is

of this

r.ever represented so as to

the condition of the divine is

that all these forms are

be laid hold of but under


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xvi.]

ways and

certain

limitations

which the understanding

and the divine wisdom

;

to

be united admits of no

to

is

137

such limitations or forms, neither can

be comprehended

it

under any particular image, because it is all pureness and simplicity. However, if two extremes are to be united together, such as the soul and the divine wisdom, it is necessary that they should meet under a certain kind

of mutual resemblance

and hence the soul must be also

;

pure and simple, not limited, not adhering to any par ticular intelligence, and unmodified by any forms, figures,

As God

or image.

not comprehended under any

is

form, or likeness, or particular conception, so the soul

be united to Him, must not be under the power of any particular form or conception. God has no form or likeness, as the Holy Ghost tells us You heard also,

if it is to

'

:

saw not any form at all.'* That there was darkness, and a cloud,

the voice of His words, but you

But he also says, and is

obscurity,' f

'

which

He

united to God.

similitude in the

is

the dark night in which the soul

day that the

Horeb from the midst of the 7.

The

'

fire.'J

soul can never attain to the height of the divine

union, so far as

medium

You saw not any Lord God spoke to you in

says further on,

it

is

possible in this

of any forms or figures.

life,

through the

This truth

is set

before

us by the same Spirit of God in the book of Numbers, where we read of the rebuking of Aaron and Mary,

because they had murmured against their brother. God then would have them understand the high estate of union

and friendship with Himself '

Moses. *

If there

Deut.

iv. ij.

be

among t

Ib.

to

which

He had

you,' said God,

iv.

n.

t Ib.

'

raised

a prophet

iv. 15.


THE ASCENT

138

[BOOK

II.]

him in a vision, or I will him in a dream but it is not so with My servant

of the Lord, I will appear to

speak

to

;

Moses who to

is

him mouth

most

faithful in all

mouth and

to

My house,

for I

and not by

plainly,

and figures doth he see the Lord.'*

It is

evident from

that in the high state of the union of love,

this,

speak

riddles

God does

not communicate Himself to the soul under the disguise of imaginary visions, similitudes, or figures, neither is there place for such, but

mouth

to

mouth

that

;

the pure and naked essence of God, which

the

mouth

of

which

The

8.

in love, that

is

for

objects,

these

figures,

soul,

ascend to this perfect

and particular

things

proportionate or proximate ;

were

it

God, must be careful not to lean upon

imaginary visions, forms,

end

as

through the the mouth of the soul in the love of God.

soul, therefore, that will

union with

gible

is

in

He communicates Himself

and naked essence of the

to the pure will

God

is, it is

intelli

can never serve as

means towards so great an

yea, rather they are an obstacle in the way, and

therefore to be guarded against

and

rejected.

For

if in

any case we are to admit these visions and esteem them, that must be for the profit and good effects of true visions in the soul

;

effects, that is

not necessary, to secure these good should admit the visions yea, rather it

but

we

it is

;

always necessary to reject them that we

the more by them.

and tion

The

fruit

also of the exterior bodily visions,

is

the

willingly.

profit

communica

of knowledge, love, or sweetness, but

necessary for this result

may

of these imaginary visions,

that

we

it

is

not

should admit them

For as I have already said, when these visions *

Num.

xii.

6, 7, 8.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xvi.]

139

are present to the imagination they infuse into the soul that knowledge, love, or sweetness, according to the

and thus the soul passively receives their quickening effects without being able on its own part to hinder them any more than it could

good pleasure of God;

previous efforts to

its

acquire them, notwithstanding dispose itself for that end. 9.

The soul

in

some respects resembles a window which

cannot repel the rays of the sun striking against

which

is

disposed

for

the reception

thereof,

it,

but

and

is

passively illuminated thereby, without care or effort on its

own

Thus the

part.

cannot but receive the

soul

inflowing and communications of these representations,

because the will negatively disposed, cannot, in

its state

of

humble and loving resignation, resist the supernatural influence though, no doubt, its impureness and imper fections are a hindrance, as stains on the glass obscure ;

the light. 10. It is clear

from

this, then,

that the soul, the

more

it is

detached in will and affections from the stains of impres

and representations, in which the spiritual communications are involved, not only does not deprive itself of these communications, and the blessings of sions, images,

which they are the cause, but for

disposed

their

reception,

abundance, clearness, liberty of

mind;

all

is

thereby the more

and that

in

greater

and singleness of and shadows, which

spirit,

the impressions, veils,

hide the deeper spirituality within, being cast aside. If we feed upon them, sense and spirit are so filled, that spiritual

communication cannot freely and

be made to us

;

for while

we

in simplicity

are occupied with the outer


THE ASCENT

140

covering, the understanding

substance within.

much

of,

[BOOK

II.]

not free to receive the

is

If the soul will

make

admit, and

these impressions, the result will be embarrass

ment, and resting satisfied with that which of the least

importance in them, namely, with

all

that

it

can grasp and

and comprehend, the form, the representation, and the

The

particular conception.

chief part

and

spiritual part infused, eludes its grasp,

which

is

beyond

its it,

That only can

spiritual.

;

and

for

passively, without

knowing how visions

these

cause

this

to

I

maintain

make any such

what

can

it

perceive

own understand

its

intellectual

any

it

namely the sensible forms

of least value,

which are within the reach of ing

is

the soul cannot discern or explain

comprehension because it is wholly ;

of them, the

that

effort,

effort,

neither

the

soul,

and without

receives through

understand

nor

imagine. 11.

Forthese reasons, therefore, the eyes of the soul must

be continually turned distinctly intelligible

senses,

from

these

visible

and

things, communicated through the

which form

security of faith,

aside

neither

the

foundation nor the

and be fixed on the

invisible,

not on

the things of sense but on those of the Spirit which are not cognisable by sense for it is this that lifts up the soul ;

to

union in faith which

is

the proper medium.

And

thus

these visions will subsequently profit the soul in the

all

when

have perfectly renounced that sense and the understanding find in them and

attainment of faith

it

shall

;

when it shall have duly applied itself to that end which God had in view when He sent them, by detaching itself from them.

Because, as

I

have said before of bodily


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xvi.]

God does

visions,

them and

not send them that the soul

set its affections

But here

12.

141

may admit

upon them.

arises this doubt

;

if it

be true that these

supernatural visions are sent from God, not for the

purpose of being received, clung to, and prized by the soul, why then are they sent at all, seeing that they are

and dangers, and are at least inconveniences, hindering our further advancement God being able to communicate spiritually to the very

the source of

many

errors

?

He

substance of the soul that which

thus communicates

through the senses in visions and sensible forms. 13. I shall reply to this

The

doubt in the following chapter.

doctrine on this subject

is

most important, and

in

opinion exceedingly necessary as well for spiritual persons as for those who have the direction of them. I

my

shall therein explain the

end

way

of

God

in them,

and the

He

has in view, the ignorance of which renders unable to control themselves, or to guide others

many

through these visions along the road of union. They imagine, the moment they have ascertained the visions to

be true and from God, that they

and cleave find in

to

them

;

lean upon them

not considering that the soul will

them that which

set its affections

may

is

natural to

itself,

that

it

will

upon them and be embarrassed by

them, as by the things of this world, if it does not repel them as it repels these. In this state of mind they will think it right to accept the visions, and to reject worldly things, thereby exposing themselves direct to great dangers

truth or falsehood of these visions.

them

to

and the souls they

and vexations

in discerning the

God does

not bid

undertake this labour or to expose simple and


THE ASCENT

142

sincere souls to this hazard

;

[BOOK

He has

for

II.]

given them the

sound and safe teaching of the faith, whereby to direct which cannot be followed without shutting

their steps,

our eyes against every object of sense, and of clear and St. Peter was perfectly certain particular perception.

saw when our Lord was

of that vision of glory which he

he bids us walk by have the more firm prophetical word

transfigured, yet after relating '

faith, saying,

We

it,

:

whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shineth in a dark place.'* This comparison involves the doctrine which I am teaching. For in saying that we should look to faith of which the prophets spoke, as to a light that shineth in a dark place, he bids us remain in darkness, shutting our eyes to

us that this darkness of

all

other light, and tells

which

faith,

also obscure,

is

ought to be the only light to which we should trust. For if we rely on other lights, clear and distinct, of the of faith,

we have ceased

on the obscurity which has therefore ceased to shine in the dark

understanding,

place, as the Apostle speaks.

In this

This place

is

the under

is

the candlestick to hold the light of

life,

the understanding must therefore be

standing, which faith.

to rely

in darkness until the

day of our transformation and union

with Him, towards

Whom

until the

the soul

day of the clear vision of God

in the life to

come.

2 St. Pet.

i.

19.

is

travelling;

shall

or

have dawned


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xvii.]

CHAPTER Of the ends and way

of

God

in

143

XVII.

communicating spiritual blessings Answer to the question

to the soul through the senses.

proposed. I

HAVE much

and

of the

raise

to say of the

He

ways

end which God has in view,

when He sends

employs,

up the soul from

This

union with Himself.

visions to

lukewarmness to the divine

its

is

treated of in all spiritual

books, and I shall therefore confine myself here to the

That question is most wise, and ever ready

solution of the question before us. this

to

:

God

Why does

Who

is

remove every snare and every stumbling-block from

before us, send us these supernatural visions, seeing that

they are so

of danger, and so perplexing to us in our

full

further progress

To answer The granted. 2.

'Those that that

is

?

this

we have

first

is

three principles to take for

expressed by St. Paul

thus

That

are, are ordained of God.'*

done

is

done according

is,

to the ordinance of

:

all

God.

The second is expressed by the Holy Ghost saying wisdom that it ordereth all things sweetly.' f The '

of

third

is

things in

an

axiom

of

harmony with

to these principles, then,

theology,

God moveth

their constitution.* it it

all

According

evident that God,

when He

from the depths of its own vileness to the opposite heights of His own dignity in union with Him self, worketh orderly, sweetly, and in harmony with the

raises the soul

constitution of the soul. *

Rom.

xiii.

I.

As

the process t Wisd.

% Deus omnia movet secundum

modum

viii.

by which the I.

eorum.


THE ASCENT

144

[BOOK

II.]

knowledge rests on the forms and images created things, and as the mode of its understanding

soul acquires or

and perception

is

in order to raise

that of the senses,

it

follows that God,

to the highest

up knowledge, orderly and sweetly, must begin with the lower senses, that He

may

thus raise

it

it

up

in

harmony with

its

the supreme wisdom' of the Spirit which

by

For

sense.

this reason

constitution to

is

not cognisable

he leads the soul

first

of all

through forms, images, and sensible ways, proportionate whether natural or supernatural, and

to its capacity,

through reflections, upwards to His own supreme Spirit. This is the cause of His sending visions and imaginary forms,

and other sensible and

intelligible

Not because he could not

knowledge.

communicate the substance of the the two extremes, the

and to

human and

in

means

of

an instant

provided that divine, that is, sense

Spirit,

were ordinarily able to meet together, and

spirit,

be united in a single

act,

without the previous inter

disposing acts, which orderly and sweetly concur together, one being the foundation and the preparation for the other, as in natural operations

vention

of

where the

many

first

subserves the second, that the next, and

so onwards.

Thus the way

to

is

perfection

the

way

him up from what which is interior and noble. raising

3.

In the first place

in

which God leads man

of his natural constitution, is vile

and exterior

to that

He perfects him in the bodily senses,,

make

a right use of good things which in themselves are natural, perfect, and exterior such as

moving him

to

;

hearing mass and sermons, veneration of holy things, mortification of the appetite at meals, the maceratior of


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. xvii. J

145

the body by penance, and the chastening of the sense of touch by holy austerities. And when the senses are in

some measure prepared, God is wont to perfect them still more by granting them certain supernatural favours and consolations that they may be confirmed the more in

He

goodness.

sends

to

them

certain

supernatural

visions of saints or of holy

communications, such as

things in bodily form, delicious odours, locutions

accom

panied by a pure and singular sweetness, whereby the very senses are greatly strengthened in virtue and with

drawn from the

desire of evil things.

Besides,

perfects also the interior bodily senses, of which I

ROW

He am

speaking, the imagination and the fancy, at the

same

time,

and accustoms them

and holy

siderations, meditations, to the

And when

disposed

by

this

natural

enlighten them, and the

through

to

through con

reflections,

measure of their capacity, and

and informs the mind.

more,

to good,

according

in all this teaches

the interior senses are

exercise, spiritualise

instrumentality

God

is

wont

of certain super

natural visions, which I have called imaginary

which the

mind

at the

to

them, more and

;

from

same time derives great profit, and and exterior visions casts off its

through the interior natural rudeness and becomes by degrees refined. 4.

This

is

that which

the

way God

is interior.

to observe this order

raises the soul step

Not that

it is

by

step to

necessary for

and succession of progress,

Him He

for

occasionally effects one degree without the other, as he sees

it

expedient for a particular soul, and as

Him

to dispense

as

have

I

K

said.

it

pleases

His graces still His ordinary way is This is the ordinary method of God ;


THE ASCENT

J46 in

[BOOK

teaching and spiritualising the soul to

communicating

it

He

;

II.]

begins by

things through things

spiritual

outwardi palpable, and appropriate to sense, condescend ing to

weakness and the

its

slight

measure of its powers;

so that through the veil of exterior objects, in themselves

good, the mind, forming particular acts, and receiving

such

of the

portions

acquire the

habit

spiritual

may

communication,

and

of spirituality

attain

substance of the Spirit, to which sense

to

the

a stranger,

is

and which the soul could never reach but by little and little in its own way, through the senses, on which it has

And

always rested.

thus in proportion as

spirituality in its converse with

from, and

empty

the

itself of,

reflections, meditation,

God, does

ways of

it

approaches detach

it

sense, that

and imagination.

itself is,

of

And when

it

have attained perfectly to converse in spirit with God, it must of necessity have emptied itself of all that relates to that converse which falls under the cognisance shall

of sense.

Thus, when an object is attracted to one extreme, the more it recedes from the other the nearer it approaches and when it shall have completely reached the point to 5.

;

which

it

tends,

the other.

known

:

will then

it

This

is

be completely withdrawn from

the spiritual

maxim

Gustato Spiritu, desipit omnis caro.

have tasted the sweetness of the Spirit,

becomes insipid

ways

;

that

is, it

all

to all the

spiritual

ways

things. it

falls

in

which sense This

is

When we

that

is flesh

profits us no more, and the

of sense are no longer pleasing. This

spiritual

so generally

may

evident

:

maxim

refers

be employed about for if a thing be

not under the cognisance of the senses,


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xvii.]

and

it

if

be such as

no longer purely

147

comprehensible by sense, then

is

spiritual.

is it

For the more anything

is

comprehended by sense and our natural perceptions, the less it has of the Spirit and of the supernatural.

The spiritual man, therefore, having attained to per fection, makes no account of sense, receives nothing 6.

through it, does not avail himself of it, neither has he any need of it in his converse with God, as before, when

he had not received the increase of the the '

is

meaning of St. Paul when he said to the Corinthians I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as :

When

thought as a child. But when I became a man, put away the things of a child.'* I have already said

a child, I

This

Spirit.

I

and the knowledge which results from them are the 'occupations of a child. That soul that the objects of sense

which ever clings to these, and which never detaches itself from them, will never cease to be a child as a ;

always speak, understand, and think of God, because relying on the outward veil of the senses which

child will

it

is childish, it will

Spirit,

which

is

never attain to the substance of the

And

the perfect man.

not to admit revelations, with a view to

its

own

God should send them

growth, even though

must abandon the breasts

infant

so the soul ought

if

it

is

spiritual

;

for the

to

become

accustomed to more solid and substantial food. necessary then, you will ask, that the soul, in its spiritual infancy, should accept these revelations, and Is

7.

it

abandon them when seek

its

when

has grown

it

;

for the infant

must

nourishment at the breast to be able to leave

the time

is

come

K2

My answer

?

*

I

Cor.

xiii.

n.

is,

it

that with regard


THE ASCENT

148 to meditation

and natural

abandon the breast of the until the time

time

must

it

is

to

may do

raises the soul to a

converse with Himself, which

it is

not,

interior senses,

has come when

come when God

is

it

support

That

so.

more

true,

spiritual

contemplation, and of

that I spoke in the eleventh chapter of this book. I

II.]

through which the

reflections,

soul begins its search after God,

itself,

[BOOK

Still

maintain that these imaginary visions or other super

natural impressions, to which the senses are subject

without the assent of the

and

at all times,

will, are,

upon

occasions

all

whether in the perfect or less perfect their coming from God, not

and notwithstanding

state,

be sought after, nor dwelt upon by the soul for two reasons to

;

and

this

:

8.

because these visions produce their

First,

effects

being able on its own may do something towards

passively in the soul, without its part to hinder them,

hindering the

secondary

For

way. there

is

though

manner of the

effects

much more

which

it

is

consequently the intended to produce are

vision

;

substantially wrought, though not in that in renouncing

them with humility and

fear,

neither imperfection nor selfishness, but rather

and emptiness of union with God.

disinterestedness disposition for 9.

it

Secondly, because

we

self,

which

is

the best

are thereby delivered from the

and labour of discerning between good and bad visions, and of ascertaining whether the angel of light

risk

or of darkness profitable at

many That

is

all,

at hand.

The attempt

to

do so

is

not

but rather waste of time, an occasion of

imperfections and delay on the spiritual journey. not the way to direct a soul in matters which are

is


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. xvii.J

of real importance, nor to relieve trifles

which are involved

149

of the vexation ot

it

in particular apprehensions

and perceptions, as I have said with respect to bodily visions and to those of the imagination, and as I shall have to say again. Believe me, our Lord would never have communicated the abundance of the Spirit through these channels, so narrow, of forms and figures and

by which, as if by crumbs, He He had not to raise up that soul to

particular perceptions,

sustains the soul,

Himself

in the

if

way

appropriate to

its

This

constitution.

He meaning of the Psalmist when he said sendeth His crystal like morsels.'* The wisdom of God

is

the

is

His

'

:

How

crystal.

capacity

as

is

it

were

sad

is

it

infinite,

its

with grief this littleness of spiritual dispositions, '

And I,

soul,

whose

want of generosity, sensual weakness. St. Paul also saw

through the senses, because of

and because of

that the

should be fed by morsels its

mind and absence of good

when he

said to the Corinthians

brethren, could not speak to

you as unto

:

spiritual,

As unto little ones in Christ, I gave milk not meat for you were not able as to drink, you But neither indeed are you now able, for you are yet. but as unto carnal.

:

yet carnal.'f

Let us, then, keep in mind that the soul must not regard these figures and objects, which are but the rind, 10.

when

whether occurring through the exterior senses, as voices and words in the ear, visible visions of the saints and beautiful lights, supernaturally set before

it;

odours to the smell, sweetness to the palate, and other delectations of the touch, which are *

Ps. cxlvji.

17,

t

I

wont

Cor.

iii.

to proceed

I, 2.


THE ASCENT

150

[BOOK

II.]

from the Spirit; or through the interior senses as the interior

imaginary visions.

not regard

having they

its

effect,

God

it

These things the soul must must renounce them wholly,

eyes fixed on that spiritual

labouring to preserve

it

good alone which in good works, and

which is purely for the service without reference to these visions, and without

employing of

yea, rather

.-

itself in that

seeking for sensible sweetness. In this way we shall reap from these visions that fruit only which God intends and wills, a spirit of devotion, for that is the chief end,

and none

other, for

also pass

by that which

we could without sense,

He sends them and we shall He too would have passed by, if

which

it,

;

namely, the usage and appliance of

have received the blessings

CHAPTER How

He

intends to confer.

XVIII.

souls are injured because their spiritual directors

do not

How these visions, guide them aright amid these visions. though from God, become occasions of error. I

CANNOT be

so concise with respect to visions as I desire,

because of the abundance of the matter.

though

have said enough,

I

tion of the spiritual

penitent

:

I

think

it

therefore,

in substance, for the instruc

man how he

when visions occur, and who guides him, how he

And

;

is

to order himself

also for the spiritual director is

to

demean himself with

his

not superfluous to enter further into

the details of this doctrine, and to bring into clearer light the evils that

may happen

to the penitent

on the

one hand, and his director on the other, should they be


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xviii.]

151

too credulous in the matter of visions, even visions

come from God. What

if

to enlarge

those

upon

which, I think, I have

this subject, is the little discretion

observed

me

leads

certain spiritual directors, who, having

among

too great a reliance on these supernatural impressions,

because they have ascertained them to be good and from God, have fallen, together with their penitents, into great

and involved themselves

errors,

in

many

thereby verifying the words of our Lord, lead the blind, both

the

it is

not necessary for such a

of manifest delusion

;

the

difficulties;

If the blind

* pit.'

Our Lord does not say they

2.

for

fall into

{

shall

that

fall

fall

fall,

is

but they

fall

:

should be one

it

complete

in

the

venturing upon such a mode of direction, and thus, at least, both the director and the penitent fall together.

There are some error,

spiritual directors

who

fall at

once into

who

are liable

because their instructions to those,

such as to lead them astray or perplex them with regard to their visions or they do not direct to visions, are

;

them to

in the

way make much of

of humility.

They

their visions,

suffer their penitents

which

is

the reason

why

they walk not according to the pure and perfect spirit of faith; neither do they build them up nor strengthen

them

in faith, while they attach so

much importance

to

these visions. 3.

This kind of direction shows that they themselves matters of importance and their

consider visions

penitents, observing

;

this,

follow their example, dwelling

upon these visions, not building themselves up *

St.

Matt. xv.

14.

in faith

;


THE ASCENT

152

[BOOK

II.]

neither do they withdraw, nor detach themselves from

them, so that they

may

All this results from the language

obscurity of faith.

and conduct of

take their flight upwards in the

directors

spiritual

certain sense of satisfaction arises

for

;

is

somehow, a

not in our control

from these things, and withdraws our eyes from

The reason why

the abyss of faith. place,

which

must be that the soul

is

this so easily takes

so occupied with them,

inasmuch as they are objects of sense, to which we are naturally inclined, and as we have had experience of

for

them, and are disposed for the apprehension of things distinct and sensible it is enough to see our confessor ;

any other person appreciate them, to induce us not only to do the same, but also to indulge our desire for or

them, to feed upon them unconsciously, to be more and more inclined to them, and to hold them in greater estimation.

This kind of direction

4.

thinks itself

much

of

with

itself,

it

;

is,

at least, a source of

many

no longer humble, but to be something good, and that God makes and so it goes on contented and satisfied

imperfections, for the

which

soul

is

contrary to humility.

is

The

devil

himself in secret to foster this

also at once applies

and suggests to it thoughts about other people, whether they have had visions or not, or whether they are or are not such as feeling, while the soul is not

they seem to be

and

:

all

spiritual solitude.

fall

it,

this is contrary to

These

because they do not grow in not

aware of

evils

faith.

holy simplicity they cannot avoid,

Besides,

if

souls do

into evils as palpable as these, they fall into

r-)hers of

a more subtle nature, and more hateful in the


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xviii.]

I $3

eyes of God, simply because they are not living in detachment.

For the present,

5.

ther, as I shall

spiritual

Then,

I shall

pursue this subject no fur

have to resume

it

when

have to treat

I

and the other six capital vices.* have much to say of these minute

gluttony,

indeed, I shall

and subtle

stains,

which

defile the

failure of true direction in

mind because

detachment.

speak of the method of direction observed guidance of souls well

;

of

for in truth,

not good.

is it

is

a

I

difficult

of the

now

shall

I

by some whose do

this

thing to explain

how

wish

I could

the mind of the penitent becomes

secretly conformed to that of his director. It appears to me that we cannot understand the one without understanding the other.

Moreover, as they are spiritual things, the one cor responds with the other. 6 It seems to

me and

I believe it to

the spiritual director be a revelations,

who

is

man who

be true

that,

if

has a weakness for

impressed by them, and

feels in

them

a sort of pleasurable satisfaction, he must communicate, without intending it, the same feelings to the mind of his penitent, unless the latter be more advanced in spirituality

case,

than he

he must do

tinues to direct him. for revelations,

is

himself.

But even

his penitent grievous

and

if

that be the

harm

if

Out of this weakness of the

he con director

his satisfaction in them, arises a

certain kind of appreciation of them, which, without the

utmost care on his part, he cannot but make manifest to his penitent and if the penitent have the same inclina;

*

iik. iii., cb. i<-,

and more

fully in

Dark Night

of the Soul, Bk.

i.


THE ASCENT

154

my

tion, in

II.

[BOOK

J

opinion this weakness will be increased in

both by their mutual intercourse. I will not enter into

7.

minute details on

this subject,

and will therefore speak of a director, who, whether having a weakness for visions or not,

is

not so cautious in his

relations with his penitent as he ought to be, so as to

him

relieve

of his embarrassments,

and detach him

in

desire from these visions; but who on the contrary converses with him on the subject, and makes it the

him

chief matter of his spiritual instructions, teaching

how

between good visions and evil ones. knowledge be good, yet is it not right to

to distinguish

Though

this

inflict

on the penitent the labour, anxiety, and danger

which

it

involves, unless in a case of pressing necessity

;

by giving no heed to them all this is avoided, and everything done that ought to be done. This is not seeing that

all

;

some

for

directors,

when they

see that their peni

tents have visions from God, bid them pray to Him, to reveal to them such and such things concerning them

selves

or

thinking

others, it

and the simple souls obey them,

lawful to seek information in that way.

They suppose

it

lawful to desire, and even to pray

a revelation, because reveal something to particular

manner

it

is

them

the good pleasure of in a supernatural

or for a particular end.

for,

God

to

way, in a

And

if

God

grants to them their petition, they become more and more confident on other occasions, and imagine God to be

pleased with this truth

And

mode

of conversing with

Him when ;

in

not pleasing to Him, and contrary to His will. they are much given to this mode of conversing

it is

if

with God, they attach themselves to

it,

and the

will


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xviii.]

acquiesces naturally in

it

them, they also naturally

own

perceptions,

;

155

for as this naturally pleases

fall

down

and frequently

to the level of their

err in

what they say

:

and when they see that events have not answered their and doubts assail expectations they are astonished ;

them as

to

whether their visions were from God or

not,

because the issues correspond not with their impressions.

They seem to have pre-supposed two things the first, that the visions came from God, because they had made so deep an impression upon them and this might be 8.

;

simply the

effect of their natural

The

visions.

tendency to trust in came from God,

second, that as the vision

so the event ought to have answered their expectations

or impressions. tions

This is a grand delusion, for the revela and words of God are not always fulfilled as man

understands them, or even in their obvious sense.

We

must, therefore, not rely upon visions, nor accept them at once, even

when we know

answers, or words of God.

and true

in themselves,

it

that they are revelations,

For though they are certain is

not of necessity that they

should be so in our sense, as I shall show in the next chapter.

And

I shall further

at times supernaturally

Him,

is

show

also that God,

though

answering petitions presented to not pleased with this, and that He is sometimes

angry, though

He

answers.


THE ASCENT

156

CHAPTER and

Visions, revelations,

THERE

are two reasons

II.~j

XIX.

locutions,

though true and from

Proofs from Holy Scriptures.

deceive.

God, may

[BOOK

divine locutions and visions

why

prove untrue to us, though they are in themselves always and certain. The first is our defective under

true

standing of them, and the second depends on the cause

and ground of them

:

they are frequently threats, and

therefore conditional, depending for their fulfilment on

from

abstinence

penance done,

or

although at the

same time expressed

I

particular

acts

;

in absolute terms.

proceed to illustrate this by certain proofs from the

Holy Writings. 2.

In the

first

place,

it is

clear that the prophecies do

not always mean what we understand by them, and that the issues do not correspond with our expectations.

The reason

God

and most high, and therefore His prophecies, locutions, and revelations, involve

is

that

other

is

infinite

other

meanings, widely different from those according to which we measure our

own

conceptions,

and they are the more true and the more certain the less they seem so to our understanding. perceptions

;

We have instances

of this truth in the

where we read that

many

Holy Scriptures, prophecies and divine

locutions disappointed, in their fulfilment, the expecta tions

of

many

of the ancient

understood them too their

own way.

because

people,

much according

This will become clear

the following examples.

they

to the letter in if

we

consider


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xix.]

157

When God had brought Abraham into the land of Chanaan, He said unto him, 'I brought thee out from 3.

Ur that

of the Chaldees to give thee this land.' *

God had

said this to

was

But now

Abraham more than

once,

and

and the land not yet his, he said unto God when the promise was again made, as the patriarch

old,

'

Whereby may I know that 1 shall possess it f Then God revealed to Abraham that it was not he, but his children, after the lapse of four hundred years, who were to possess the land. Abraham then understood the promise, which in itself was most true for God by '

?

:

giving the land to his children, because of the love He bore him, was giving it to him. Thus Abraham deceived himself while he understood the promise in his

And

own

he had then acted on that understanding, he would have greatly erred, for the- time of fulfilment sense.

if

who saw him

die before he

into possession of the land,

knowing the

was not come. had entered

promise which to

Those, too,

God had made him, would have been put

shame, and would have accounted the prophecy for a

talse one. 4.

when Jacob

Afterwards,

his

grandson was going to

Egypt, whither Joseph had sent for him, because of the famine in the land of Chanaan, God appeared to him on

Fear not, go down into Egypt. I back again from thence.'* This prophecy

the way, and said, will bring thee

was not

fulfilled

as

*

we

should understand

it,

for the holy

man died in Egypt, ana never came back alive. That prophecy was to be fulfilled in his descendants, old

whom God *

brought back, after

Gen. xv.

7.

t Ib. 8.

many

years, being J

Ib. xlvi. 3, 4.

Him-


THE ASCENT

158

[BOOK

II.]

Now

anyone who might have heard of this prophecy would have been certain, that as Jacob went down into Egypt by the grace and command of self their guide.

God, so would he return thence alive without fail for the same promise extended to his return and protection. ;

Such an one would have been astonished and deceived

when he saw

the patriarch die, and the events not

answering to his expectation. Thus, while the promise of God was most certain, men might deceive themselves greatly about it.

we

read in the book of the

Judges, assembled together to

fight against that of

5.

The

tribes of Israel, as

Benjamin, because of a certain

had sanctioned.

God,

too,

evil

deed which that tribe

appointed them a leader in

they were so confident of success that, when they were defeated with the loss of two and twenty thousand men, they were filled with astonishment, the war.

Upon

this

and wept before God, not knowing the cause of their discomfiture, for they understood that victory had been

They asked whether they should return God answered them, Go up against them

promised them. to the fight

and join

'

;

battle.'

They went up the second time with

great boldness, confident of victory, but were beaten again, and eighteen thousand of

consequence of this they were

knew not what

to do.

them were

filled

In

slain.

with confusion, and

God had commanded them

to

fight, and they were always beaten, though they sur passed their enemies in courage and in numbers being

themselves four hundred thousand strong, while the tribe of Benjamin only mustered five and twenty thousand and seven hundred men.

They deceived themselves by

their


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xix.]

own was

interpretation of the

God had

true.

word of God, which

them

in

in itself

not said to them, go forth and

conquer, but go forth and fight. chastise

159

this

way

And His

for their

purpose was to

negligence and

At last God said presumption, and so to humble them. unto them, Go up, for to-morrow I will deliver them into '

your hands,' and then by toil and stratagem they obtained the victory.* 6.

This

one of the

is

themselves in locutions.

many ways

in

which souls deceive

and divine

the matter of revelations

They understand them

to their apparent

meaning.

God

in the letter according

For, as I have said, the

sending visions is to express and communicate the spirit which is hidden within them, and

chief purpose of

in

very hard to be understood. This is much more abundant than the letter, more extraordinary, and

which

is

surpasses the limits thereof.

on the

He, therefore, that will rely on the intelligible

letter of the divine locution, or

form of the vision, will of necessity fall into delusion, and be put to shame for he directs himself therein by sense, ;

and does not yield to the spirit in detachment from The letter killeth,' saith the Apostle, but the '

sense,

'

quickeneth.' f

and abide

We must therefore reject the literal

in the obscurity of faith,

incomprehensible by 7.

This

came

is

prophets.

is

the

spirit,

sense.

the reason

to disregard

which

spirit

sense,

why many

and

of the people of Israel

to disbelieve the

words of the

They understood them in a particular sense

according to the non-fulfilment.

and were disappointed at their To such an extent did this evil grow letter,

Judg. xx.

2328.

T 2 Cor.

Hi.

6.


THE ASCENT

160

among them

that they

had a current proverb

IT.]

in ridicule

Isaias complains of this,

of the prophecies.

Whom

[BOOK

saying

:

he teach knowledge ? and whom shall he make to understand the hearing ? Them that are weaned *

shall

from the milk, that are drawn away from the breasts.

For command, command again

command, command

;

again wait, wait again wait, wait again a little there, a little there. For with the speech of lips, and with It k another tongue He will speak to this people.'* ;

;

;

clear from these words, that the people

prophecies, and where

made

a jest of the

in the habit ot ridiculing

them by

Their object was to insinuate that the prophecies would never be accomplished for they understood them according to the letter, which is '

saying,

wait, wait again.'

:

own

the milk of babes; and in their

which

'

breasts,'

is in

sense,

which

is

the

contradiction with the grandeur of

The prophet therefore asks, he teach the knowledge of his prophecies, and 'whom shall he make to understand' what they the science of the Spirit.

Whom

teach

?

'

shall

Is

it

not they

the letter, and from

'

who

'

are

weaned from the milk

the breasts

'

of sense

?

'

of

That nation

understood not the prophecies, for it followed after the milk ot the letter, and the breasts of sense, saying,

command, command again wait, wait again.' For God spoke to them the doctrine of His own mouth, and

*

;

not of theirs, and that in another tongue than theirs. 8.

We

are therefore not to consider prophecy according

own understanding and our own speech, knowing God have a meaning different from and very difficult to ascertain. So much so that

to our

that the words of ours,

*

Is.

xxviii.

9- 1

1.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xix.]

16i

Jeremias, himself a prophet of God, seems to have been

when he saw

deceived

meaning of the divine words

the

be so far removed from the understanding of men for he thus complains on behalf of the people, saying, 'Alas, to

;

O

Lord God, hast Thou then deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, You shall have peace, and behold the sword reacheth even to the soul ?'* The alas, alas

!

peace which God had promised was peace between Himself and man in the Messias, Whom He was to send; but the people understood

of temporal peace

it

;

and

so,

when war and trouble came upon them, they thought God had deceived them, because they were disappointed They then

in their hopes.

cried out in the

words of the

We

looked for peace, and no good came.'f It was not possible for them not to be deceived, because '

prophet,

they relied on the 9.

Is

fusion,

it

literal,

grammatical sense.

possible for anyone to escape error

who

and con

should understand in the letter the prophecy

of the Psalmist concerning Christ, especially that which

says of Him,

'

He

shall rule

from sea to

river unto the ends of the earth

sea,

and from the

And again, He '

r'+

shall

and the needy that Christ was born in a low estate,

deliver the poor from the mighty,

hath no helper.'

Now

lived in poverty,

and died

in

misery

ruling over the earth while

He

;

so far

lived

was He from

upon

it,

that

He

subjected Himself to the lowest of the people and died Not only did He not deliver under Pontius Pilate. the

He

poor,

His own

suffered the *

t

L

Jer. iv. 10.

Ps. Ixxi. 8,

disciples,

mighty

to

from

the mighty,

persecute them t

Ib. viii. 15.

Ib. 12.

for

but

His


1HE ASCENT

162

name, and ing Christ sense

it

is

to is

most

who

11.

J

put them to death. The prophecy concern to be understood spiritually, for in that

He

true.

are to follow

not only the Lord of the

is

whole earth, but of heaven the poor,

[BOOK.

also, for

He

God.

is

And

Him, are not only redeemed

by Him and delivered from the mighty, that is, out of the hand of satan, but also made heirs of the kingdom ot The prophecy referred to Christ and His heaven. followers in the highest sense, to His eternal

and

our everlasting salvation

their

own way,

referring

portance, and of which

it

;

but

to that

men

understood

which

God makes but

kingdom

is

it

in

of least im

little

account, a

temporal dominion, and a temporal deliverance, which in the sight of God is neither a kingdom nor freedom.

The Jews, blinded by

the letter of the prophecy, and not

understanding the true spiritual meaning it involved, put our Lord God to death. They that inhabited Jeru '

'and the rulers thereof, not knowing Him, nor the voices of the prophets, which are read every sabbath, judging Him, have fulfilled them.'* salem,' saith the Apostle,

10.

The words of God are indeed hard to be understood His own disciples, who had been

as they ought to be.

Him, were themselves deceived. Two of them after His death were journeying sad and despond ing to Emmaus, and saying, We hoped that it was He familiar with

*

who should have redeemed

They, too, under stood this redemption and dominion in a temporal sense. Our Lord appeared to them, and rebuked them, saying,

*O

foolish,

Israel.' f

and slow of heart

which the prophets have spoken *

Acts xiiL 27.

t

St.

Luke

to believe in all things !'+

Even on

xxiv. 21.

the day of

J Ib

25.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xix.]

163

His ascension some of them were alike ignorant, asked Him, saying,

'

again the kingdom to Israel 11.

the

for

they

Lord, wilt thou at this time restore * ?'

Many things have been spoken by the Holy

Ghost,

meaning of which is different from that which men Such were the words of Caiphas concerning

conceive.

expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.

Christ: 'It

And

is

he spoke not of himself.' f The words ot Caiphas had one meaning to himself, and another, a this

very different one, to the Holy Ghost. 12.

This shows us that

revelations, even

we cannot

rely

upon visions and

though coming from God, because

it is

by understanding them in our own sense. They are an abyss and a depth of the Spirit, and therefore to limit them to our own sense and so easy for us to be deceived

grasp the air and the motes the air disperses, and our hand is empty.

apprehension of them, floating in 13.

to

it

The

make

;

is

to

spiritual director

his penitent

must be therefore

careful not

narrow-minded by attaching any

for they importance to these supernatural visitations are nothing else but the motes of the Spirit, and he who ;

shall give his attention to these alone will in the

have no

him from

spirituality at all.

let

him wean

locutions, and guide him into and darkness of faith, where he shall receive

all

the liberty

Yea, rather

end

visions

and

of the abundance of the Spirit,

and consequently the

knowledge and understanding of the words of God.

who

It

not spiritually-minded to judge, even in a moderate degree, the things of God; is

impossible for anyone *

Acts

i.

6.

is

t St. joKfc ll 50.


THE ASCENT

164

[BOOK

and he who judges them according tual.

Though

God

the things of

II.

j

to sense is not spiri

men

are presented to

through the senses, they are not to be so understood.

'The sensual man,'

'perceiveth not

saith the Apostle,

the things that are of the Spirit of

God

for

;

ness to him, and he cannot understand

But the

spiritually examined. '

'

By

things.'*

man

sensual

is

the

man

spiritual

directed

with

by

God

is

is

judgeth

literal

sense

neither tied to

is

all

who and

;

it,

nor

presumption therefore to converse

It is

it.

he who

'

it

here meant one

understands the divine locutions in the '

foolish

because

man

spiritual

'

;

it is

in this supernatural

way and

to allow sense to

intermeddle therewith.

For the clearer understanding of

14.

some

illustrations of

affliction, '

say,

I

this I will give

man in whom God shall

Let us suppose a holy

it.

persecuted by his enemies, to

deliver thee out of their hands/

will

This

verified, and yet the enemies of the promise may Should he Saint triumph, and he die by their hands. understand the word of God in a temporal sense, that

be

would be a delusion true

deliverance

for

;

and

God may have spoken which

of the

is

salvation, by and by which it conquers all its enemies in a higher and truer sense than that of any temporal victory over them. Thus the prophecy is

which the soul

much more standing of

meaning

victory,

delivered,

and comprehensive than the under by anyone who should have limited its

true it

to this

intends great

understand

is

life.

and

Him

For God, when profitable

in his *

things

own way, I

Cor.

ii.

He

14.

;

speaks, always

but

man may

in the lowest sense,


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. xix. J

and so

into

fall

This

error.

is

165 the

in

exemplified

Thou shalt concerning Christ rule them with a rod of iron, and shalt break them prophecy of David

'

:

Here God speaks of dominion, which is eternal

in pieces like a potter's vessel.'*

that

supreme and perfect

and now accomplished not of a dominion which is less perfect, which is temporal, and which was not ;

fulfilled in

15.

the earthly

Again

dom, to

let

:

life

of Christ.

us suppose a

whom God

shall say,

'

man

longing for martyr Thou shalt be a martyr.'

such an one feels great interior consolation, and hopes of being a martyr. Still he does not die a

Upon

this

martyr's death, and yet the promise

is

fulfilled.

But

Because why is the promise not literally performed God keeps it in the highest and substantial sense, ?

bestowing on that soul the essential love and reward of a martyr, making it a martyr of love, granting to it a prolonged martyrdom of suffering, the continuance of which is more painful than death. Thus He bestows really on that soul

promised.

what that soul

desired,

and

He had

For the substance of that desire was, not any

particular kind of death, but rather the oblation to God of the obedience of a martyr, and a martyr's act of love.

Martyrdom of God,

itself is

Who

nothing worth without the friendship

by other

means gives the

and reward of a martyr perfectly; satisfied as to its desires,

withheld from 16.

These

love, obedience,

and the

soul

though the death of a martyr

is is

it.

desires,

and others

spring from true love, though not r*.

ii.

9.

like

them, when they men under-

fulfilled as


THE ASCENT

166

stand them, are nevertheless ter

way, and more

how

to ask.

poor

and

;'*

'

'

[BOOK

another and bet

fulfilled in

honour of God than men know

for the

The Lord hath heard the

desire of the

to the just their desire shall

be given.'f

have desired many things for God in Many but life, and their desires have not been granted saints

;

certain that, as their desires were just will

be perfectly

this is true,

fulfilled in

so also

II.]

is

true, that

it

is

and good, they

the world to come.

it

this

God

in

And

as

this life

performs His promise of granting their desires, though not in the way they thought. 17.

In this and in

visions of

God

are true

ways the words and and certain, and yet we may be

we do

not rise to the heights of God's

deceived because

many

other

purpose and meaning. Thus, the safest course, which directors can take, is to lead souls into a prudent avoid ance of these supernatural visitations, accustoming them to pureness of spirit in the obscurity of faith,

which

is

means of the divine union.

the

CHAPTER XX. Proofs from Scripture that the divine locutions, though always true, are not always certain in their causes.

IT

is

why

necessary for divine

me now

visions

and

to

show the second reason

locutions,

though

always

true in themselves, are not always so with regard to us. This depends on the motive on which they are founded

;

and

it

is

to

be understood that they are always *

Ib. ix.

17.

i Trov.

x. 24.

true,


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xx.]

167

while the cause remains, which determines

God

so to

God perhaps says, speak to inflict chastisement. Within a year such a kingdom shall be visited with pestilence.' The ground of this denunciation is a certain '

offence against if

God committed it

Now

kingdom.

changed, the punishment will The will come in another form.

that offence ceases or

not be inflicted, or

in that

is

denunciation was true, because grounded upon actual

and would have been

sin,

This

in.

persisted

verified

if

the sin had been

a threatening

is

conditional

or

revelation.

.We have an

2.

God

instance of this in the story of Ninive.

Yet forty prophesy its ruin * The prophecy days and Ninive shall be destroyed.' was not fulfilled, because the reason of it had ceased. sent Jonas to

it

'

to

The people did penance

:

for their sins

but

;

if

they had

not done so, the prophecy would have been accom plished.

King Achab,

as

we

read in the third book

father Elias to threaten

him and

of

God

sent our

his house

and his

the Kings, committed a great sin, and

kingdom with a most grievous chastisement. But when Achab rent his garments, and put haircloth on his flesh, and fasted and head cast

slept in sackcloth,

do\vn,'

and walked with

and was humbled, God said

his

to the

same prophet, 'Because he hath humbled himself

My

sake, I will not bring the evil in his days

his son's days will I bring the evil

we

upon

;

his house.' f

for

but in

Thus

see that, because of the change in Achab, there

was

a change also of the threatening and sentence of God. 3. It follows, Jon.

then, from this that God, having one?

iii. 4.

t 3 Kings

xxi. 27-29.


THE ASCENT

168

[BOOK

revealed distinctly to anyone, that he

was about

II.~|

to bless

or punish either that person or any other, may still change His purpose more or less, or cease from it alto gether, according to the

those to

whom

change

in the disposition of

the revelation referred, or the cessation

of the cause in view of which the revelation

And

this

being so, the

word

that

He

was made. will not

spoke

be

according to the expectation of those to whom was known, and that very often without its being

fulfilled it

known why, save

God

to

teach and promise,

only.

many

God

wont

is

to speak,

things at different times, not

be understood, or accomplished then but that they may be understood afterwards, when the time is come,

to

or

;

when they

are effectually fulfilled.

It

was

in this

way

our Lord conversed with His disciples. He spoke to them in parables and dark sayings, the meaning of

which they perceived not till the time came when they were to preach them to others. This time arrived when

Holy Ghost .ie^ended upon them, of Whom our He will teach you all things, and Saviour had said

the

'

:

bring

all

things to your mind, whatsoever

said to you.'*

St. John,

into Jerusalem, says:

not

know

at the first

;

I shall

have

speaking of our Lord's entry

'These things His disciples did but

when Jesus was

glorified,

then

they remembered that these things were written of Him.' f Thus, then, many divine communications, most distinctly made, may be received by us without being understood before the proper time, either by ourselves or by our spiritual directors. 4.

God was angry with * tjt.

John

xjv. ?6.

Heli, the high priest of Israel t

Jb. xjj. 1$,


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xx.j

because he knew that his did not

chastise them.' *

f

169

sons did wickedly, and he

He

sent a prophet to

him

to

admonish him.

'I said indeed that thy house and the house of thy father should minister in My sight for ever. But now saith the Lord, Far be this from Me but who :

him I will glorify but they that be despised.' f Now the priesthood was instituted for the honour and glory of God, and for that soever shall glorify Me,

despise Me

end

it

:

shall

had been promised by God

for ever to the father

But when

of Heli on the due fulfilment of his functions.

as

God

preferring his children above

Him,

Heli ceased to be zealous for God's honour

Himself complains

he might not be compelled to punish them the promise also ceased to be observed though it would have abided for ever, had they to whom conniving at their sins that

;

belonged persevered zealously in the true service of God. We are, therefore, not to imagine that the words

it

or revelations of God, though most true, will be infallibly verified in their obvious

disposition of

meaning for they are, by the Himself, bound up with human

God

;

and change.

causes, which are liable to fluctuation this is

known unto God, but

He

declares

it

All

He

not.

sends forth His word, and at times makes no mention of the condition

;

when He

as in the case of Ninive,

declared distinctly that after forty days the city would At other times He declares the condition,

be destroyed.

as in the case of Jeroboam, saying, wilt

walk

and

My

My ways

in

precepts, as

* }

Kings

iii.

l

'

thou

If then

.

.

.

keeping My commandments David My servant did I will be .

.

.

;

t

JL>-

ii.

jo.


THE ASCENT

170

[BOOK

II.J

with thee and will build thee up^a faithful house as * up a house for David.'

I

built

But

whether God declares the conditions or we must not trust to our understanding of His words; not, for we cannot comprehend the hidden truths of God, and 5.

after all,

the manifold

He

meaning of His words.

the heavens, speaking in the

ways

high above

is

of eternity

and cannot penetrate His upon This is the meaning of Solomon when he said blind

we

;

'

:

and thou upon earth

in heaven,

be

are

secrets.

earth,

God

is

therefore let thy words

;

few.' f

Here, perhaps, an objection may be made: If then we cannot understand the revelations of God, nor enter into their meaning, why does He send them 6.

?

I

have already met

be understood in

this

Everything

difficulty.

will

by Him who

the time

appointed hath spoken, and he whom He hath determined before hand shall understand and then all will see that it was :

right and

fitting

it

should be so

but in truth and equity.

we cannot

that

It

is,

:

for

God doeth nothing

therefore,

most certain

perfectly understand nor grasp the full

of His words, nor determine the sense of

meaning to be what

seems to be, without falling into shameful This truth was well known to the prophets

it

delusions. to

whom

the word of the Lord

said,

letter,

and

ridicule

sent.

To prophesy

this

to

made a

* 3 Kings

xi.

;

proved an excuse to the multitude to

and mock the prophets. '

prophet,

was

was

them a grievous affliction for, as I much of what they said was not fulfilled in the

to the people

have

them

38.

'I

am,'

saith

derision all the day, all do scorn t

Eccles. v. L

the

me

,


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xx.] because

now long ago

I

speak crying out iniquity, and

and the word of the Lord

often proclaim wasting;

made a reproach I said

to

I will not

:

171

me, and a derision

all

the day.

I is

And

remember Him, nor speak any more

in

His name.'*

Here the holy prophet, though he speaks with resig nation and like a frail man, unable to endure the ways and secrets of God, teaches us clearly the difference 7.

between the true fulfilment and the apparent meaning of the word of God. The people treated the heavenly messengers as deceivers, whose afflictions, on account of their prophecies, were so great that Jeremias cried out: '

made unto us fear, and snare and destruc Jonas fled when God sent him to preach the is

Prophecy

tion.'!

destruction of Ninive, because he did not perceive the

nor wholly comprehend the meaning, of the words of God. He fled, that he might not become an object truth,

of derision to the people

He

when they saw

the prophecy

stayed outside the city for forty days waiting for the accomplishment of his pro

not

fulfilled.

phecy, and

further

when he saw

that

it

remained

unfulfilled,

I he was greatly affected, and complained, saying beseech Thee, O Lord, is not this what I said, when *

:

I

to flee

my own

country ? Therefore, I went before In his vexation, therefore, he unto Tharsis.'J

was yet

in

prayed God to take his 8.

Is

fulfilled

it,

life

from him.

then, surprising that the revelations are not

in

our sense

anyone good or

evil,

For

?

if

relating to

God makes known to him or to others, and if

the revelation thereof be founded on the obedience or *

Jerem. xx.

7-9.

t

Lam

iii.

47.

t Jon.

iv.


THE ASCENT

172

[BOOK

disobedience of that person or the others, and facts continue the same,

But

fulfilled.

in

fulfilled

the

And

change.

it

is

no doubt the prophecy

not, however, certain that

letter,

it

because the reasons of

we must not

therefore

II.J

if

the

will

be

will

be

it

may

trust to our

own

understanding of these revelations, but to faith.

CHAPTER God

is

at

times displeased with

answers them.

SOME

Illustrations of

spiritual persons, as I

XXI.

certain prayers, though He His anger with such prayers.

have

said,*

persuade them

not reflecting on the great curiosity which they often display when they seek knowledge from God in selves

because their prayers are sometimes answered, that their conduct in the matter is good and supernatural ways

pleasing unto God.

Nevertheless the truth

is,

notwith

standing the answers they receive, that God is offended, And more than this, they provoke and not pleased.

Him

to anger,

is this

Him

and displease

no creature

God hath appointed

may

order of

He guidance. governance certain natural transgression of which

is

has

being for its ordained for man's its

and reasonable laws, the

therefore not right

seek anything by supernatural ways

2. is

:

now, to

to transgress

is

these laws, and therefore an unholy and thing,

The reason

transgress the limits which

in the

and

rule

greatly.

unbecoming

and displeasing unto God.

You will

object,

and

say,

Why

then does God,

displeased, answer such prayers at all

?

T

if

He

reply, the


OP MOUNT CARMEL.

{.CHAP. XXI.]

175

answer occasionally comes from the

God

answers,

it is

But when

devil.

out of condescension to the

weakness of him who

walk

human

way, that he not become disconsolate, and go back or that he not think that God is angry with him, or that he will

in that

;

not be tempted overmuch

known to

him

it

may

be for other ends

God, founded on his weakness, in consideration

to

God

of which

or

:

may may may

pleased to answer him, and condescend

is

in that

He

way.

many weak and

same way with giving them a sensible

deals in the

delicate souls,

sweetness in their converse with Himself, not because

He His

delights in this, or because this will

He

but because

;

way

is

according to

deals with everyone according

to his capacity. 3.

God

may draw vessel, and He

as a well from which everyone

is

water according to the measure of his sometimes permits us to draw it through extraordinary channels, but it is not therefore necessarily right to

make use

of them.

belongs to

It

Who

God

alone to determine

this, whom, and why He wills, gives how, when, without respect of persons. He sometimes inclines His

to

ear to the prayer of those of their goodness

they

not be

may

who

make

this

Him, and because

and simplicity succours them, that made sad, and not because He is

pleased with their prayer. will

cry to

more

clear.

The following

A

illustration

father covers his table

with divers meats, some better than others.

One

children asks for one kind, not the best, but the

presents itself to

him

better than

other.

any

not take of the best,

:

he asks

for

it

of his

first

that

because he likes

it

His father seeing that he will even if he offered it, and that he


THE ASCENT

174

would not have any asked

He

for.

satisfaction in to

it

gives

him

[BOOK it,

him

gives

}

that he

that he might not be

without food and disconsolate, but he gives

II.

left

sorrow

it

Such was God's dealing with the people of Israel fully. when they demanded a king. He gave them a king Hearken unwillingly, for that was not for their good. *

He

to the voice of the people/ saith

to

Samuel

' :

they

have not rejected thee but Me, that I should not reign over them.'* He condescends in the same way to certain giving them that which

souls,

either because

good,

cannot, walk with

times these

is

they will

Him

not for their greater not, or because they

in the better

if

at

and sweetness,

souls have a tenderness

He

And

way.

them because they are gives feed on the strong and substantial meat,

spiritual or sensible,

it

not disposed to the sufferings of the cross of His Son.

we should is,

in

my

It is

opinion,

much worse

to seek for the

of events

through supernatural ways, spiritual sweetness in those of sense. 4. I

do not see how

venial, those persons

tentions

His will that

cleave thereto rather than to aught else.

and great

I

this,

knowledge

than to seek

can excuse from

who do

It

sin, at least

however good their

their progress in perfection.

I

in

say the

same of those who bid them persevere

who thus>

in this way, or no necessity for their acting because natural reason, the law and teaching of the

consent to

it.

There

is

Gospel are sufficient for our guidance, and there are neither wants nor difficulties which cannot be supplied or

remedied by them, and that more in accordance with the will of

God, and more to the * I

profit of souls.

Kings

viii.

7.

Such

is

our


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP xxi.J obligation to

make use

of our reason

i?5

and of the teaching

of the gospel, that, whether with or without our concur

us supernaturally, we consistent with reason and

rence, if anything be revealed

may

receive that only which

And we

the evangelical law.

things

much more

deceive us, utters

are

bound

carefully than

had been made

revelation

is

'to

many

;

to

examine such

we should

do, if

no

in order to

for the devil,

things which are true and in con

formity with reason.

There is no better or safer remedy for all our necessi and troubles than prayer and hope, by which God is moved to provide for us by such means as are pleasing 5.

ties

unto Him.

This

is

the counsel which the

When

tures furnish us. affliction,. hemmed

in

by

Holy Scrip in deepest was King Josaphat

his enemies

on every side, he 'As we know not

betook himself to prayer, and said, what to do, we can only turn our eyes to Thee.'* everything

fails us,

when reason

we can then lift up our Thou mayest provide for us,

relief,

eyes to

that

as

to

When

powerless to suggest

is

it

Thee

only,

seem best

shall

Thee. 6.

God

too,

offered, is this,

I

angry.

think

He

though it

sends answers to prayers thus

But, notwithstanding the certainty of will

be well

to

show

it

from certain

When Saul desired to consult passages of Holy Writ. the prophet Samuel, then dead, the prophet came at his God, however, was angry with Saul, for the prophet rebuked him, saying, Why hast thou disturbed my rest, that I should be brought up r't We know, too,

request

;

'

that

God was *

angry, with the people of Israel

2 Paral. xx. 12.

f

I

Kings

xxviii.

when they

15.


THE ASCENT

176

Him

asked sent

from

fire

meat was

He

for meat.

Heaven

in their

(

BOOK

gave them meat, but

them

to chastise

' :

He

As

II.

)

also

yet the

mouth, and the wrath of God came

He was

angry also with Balaam, when, at the bidding of Balac, he went to the Madianites, though God had said, Arise and go.' Balaam was bent on

upon them.'*

'

God

going, and had asked permission of

but an angel

;

him in the way with a drawn sword in his and hand, sought to kill him, and said, Thy way is per verse and contrary to Me.'t In this, and in many other stood before

*

God

ways,

And

condescends, but in anger, to our desires.

Holy Writings furnish us many othe^ instances of this truth, but on which we have no need to enlarge in a the

matter so plain.

have only to add that it is a most perilous thing, and much more so than I can tell, to converse with God 7. I

by these supernatural ways, and that whosoever disposed cannot but

He who

fall

into

many

the difficulty of not being deceived

shameful delusions.

ways will learn by For over and above

by the divine

locutions, there is usually the further

devil thrusting himself in

comes

thus

shall apply himself to these

experience the truth of the matter.

and

is

among them.

visions

danger of the

Satan, in general,

ways and methods of God, sug communications so much resembling those

to the soul in the

gesting to

it

of God, insinuating himself as a wolf in sheep's clothing

among

the flock, so that he can scarcely be detected.

announces many things that are conformable with reason, and certain, men may be

For as the true,

evil spirit

most easily deluded, thinking *

Num.

xi. 4,

33

;

Pi. Ixxvii. 30, 31.

that,

as the prophecy

t Num.

xxii.

2C

72.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XXT.]

corresponded with the event,

God

Who

could be none other than

had spoken. They do not reflect how very for one, endowed with clear natural light, to

easy it is understand in their causes

been or

it

177

may be

many

matters, which have

Such an one will accurately guess come. And as the devil is endowed

done.

at many things to with so clear a light, he

is

able to infer such results from

though they are not always such as he describes them, because all things depend on the will of such causes

;

God. 8.

Let us make this clear by an illustration

knows phere,

that the condition of the earth

:

The

devil

and the atmos

and the position of the sun are such, that

at a

given time, the combination of the elements must, of He will also know necessity, occasion a pestilence.

where the pestilence

He

so.

will

be most violent and where

perceives the pestilence in

its

causes.

least

Is

it

a

great matter for the devil, in this case, to reveal to a particular person that within a year or six

plague will come, which does come is

diabolic.

same way. with time.

air,

he

He may When he sees

months a

Yet the prediction

?

also foretell earthquakes in the

may

the caverns of the earth

filled

say an earthquake will come at such a

This knowledge

in the providence of

is

natural.

God may

Extraordinary events

also be detected in their

Seeing that He is most just in His dealings with men, we may be able to see, in the ordinary way, that a given individual, city, or place is come to such a state or sources.

difficulty that

God, in His providence and

deal therewith as the cause

demands

:

justice,

either in the

must

way

of punishment or of reward, according to the nature oi


THE ASCENT

1~8

Under God

the case.

these circumstances,

such a time,

most

we may

say, at

have an instance of

this in holy

when she would persuade Holofernes

Judith, who,

]

will visit, or such things will happen,

We

certainly.

II

[BOOK

the people of Israel must certainly perish, told

that

him

of

and the calamities they suffered, and added, 'therefore because they do these things, it is

their

many

sins

certain they will be given to destruction.'* 9.

as

if

Here Judith saw the punishment in its cause. It is she had said, it is certain that such sins will draw

down

the chastisements of God,

same

principle

it

is

written,

same

also

he

*

is

By

is

Who

is

most

just.

The

taught in the book of Wisdom where what things a man sinneth, by the

The

tormented.' t

devil

may

perceive

this not

only naturally, but also by his experience of the like dealings of God. He may also announce it certainly beforehand.

Holy Tobias

10.

ment about

to fall

thereof, saying,

also

knew

in its causes the chastise

upon Ninive,

for

he warned his son

'Now, children, hear me, and do not stay

but as soon as you shall bury your mother by me in one sepulchre, without delay direct your steps to depart

here

;

For

hence.

I see that its iniquity will

It is as if

tion.'*

he had

bring

it

to destruc

said, I see clearly that its

must bring on punishment, and that its punish ment will be its utter ruin. This might have been fore iniquity

seen evil

by

the devil and Tobias, not only because of the

deeds of Ninive, but also from their experience of

knowing that God had destroyed the old world, on account of the sins of men, by the deluge, and the

the past,

*

Juditt> xi. 12.

t Wisd.

xi

17.

t Tob.

xiv. 12, 13.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxi.] people of

Sodom by

179

But Tobias knew

fire.

also the ruin

of Ninive

by the Holy Ghost. 11. The evil spirit may know that a given individual will die within a certain time in the course of nature, and

may announce the fact beforehand. He may also know many other events in divers ways, which I am unable to because they are exceedingly intricate and There is no escape here, therefore, but in fleeing

describe, subtle.

revelations, visions,

and locutions, because God

justly offended with

him who seeks them. He sees

most

is

that

it

is rashness to expose oneself to so great a risk, and that to seek these things is presumption, curiosity, the fruit of

and root of vain-glory, contempt of the things of God, and many other evils into which so many have fallen. Such persons have so offended God that pride, the source

He

has

deliberately

abandoned them

delusions and mental blindness

and has

;

errors

to

suffered

and

them

go astray from the ordinary course of a well-regulated the life, giving way to vanity and imaginations, as to

prophet saith

'The Lord hath mingled

:

thereof the spirit of giddiness/

*

that

in

is,

the midst

in

common

speech, the spirit of understanding things the

The words of the prophet

way. is

wrong

are to the point, for he

who attempted to know future events ways. He says, therefore, that God had

speaking of those

by supernatural mingled

in the

things the

wrong way

fact, this spirit

selves

midst of them the ;

not that

God

understanding

willed or sent, in

of delusion, but that they thrust them

into those things,

naturally a secret.

the knowledge of which

is

God, therefore, in His anger, allowed *

M*

spirit of

Is. xix.

14.


THE ASCENT

180

them it

to utter foolish things, giving

was not His will they should

that

He

[BOOK them no

light

II.]

where

It is therefore said

enter.

mingled, permissively, the spirit of giddiness in

the midst of them. 12.

This

the

is

way

in

which God

is

the cause of this

namely, as the privative cause, which is the with drawal of His light and grace, the result of which is in evil,

evitable error. It devil to blind

is

in this

way,

too, that

and deceive many, whose

frowardness deserve

it.

The

devil

is

deceive them, and does deceive them

and accounting him a good

spirit,

;

and

He

permits the

sins

and whose

then

men

able

to

believing

this to

such a

degree, that, though convinced that they are under the influence of the evil one, they cannot get rid of their

by the permission of God, the spirit so strong within them. This was the

delusions; because,

of contradiction

is

case with the prophets of Achab, who, by the permission

was deceived by them for He had allowed the spirit to do so, saying, Thou shalt deceive him and

of God, evil

;

'

shalt prevail

;

go

forth

and do

so.'

*

So strong was

the

delusion of the king and the prophets, that they refused to believe Micheas,

to the lying

who prophesied

truly in opposition

words of those prophets.

They were

all

God having were bent on what they liked themselves, desiring they that the event and the answer of God should correspond permitted their blindness because

deceived,

with their

mind

is

own wishes and

desires.

This disposition of

the most certain road towards being abandoned

God to error and delusions. Ezechiel in the name of God prophesies to the same effect for speaking against

of

;

*

3 Kings xxii

22.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxi.]

181

such as seek knowledge, in the way of God, out of vanity of mind and curiosity, he says :' If he ... come to the

prophet to enquire of

him by Myself, and .

.

.

And when

Me by

him,

I will set

my

I the

We

will

answer

man.

...

Lord

the prophet shall err

have deceived him.' *

Lord

face against that I the

are to understand this of the

non-concurrence of God's grace, so that delusion follows.

God

says,

that

is,

answer him by Myself,' in withdraw My grace and protection '

I

My

I will

falls infallibly into delusions,

because

;

anger,

then

man

God has abandoned

Then, too, the devil comes forward and makes answer according to that man's wishes and desires, who,

him.

the answers and suggestions of

taking pleasure therein

the evil one being in unison with his will

many

delusions.

13. I

seem

to

have strayed in some measure from the

subject, as I described I

falls into

it

in the

beginning of

this chapter.

undertook to show that God was offended, even though answered our prayers. Yet, if what I have said be

He

it

carefully considered,

intended

:

it

pleased that

will

be found to prove what

being clear throughout, that God is not should seek after such visions, because

men

they are in so

I

many ways

*

occasions of delusions.

Lzech. xiv.

7. 6,

9


THE ASCENT

182

CHAPTER It is

not lawful, under the

new

[BOOK

ii.]

XXII.

law, as

it

was under the

old, to

This doctrine profit enquire of God by supernatural ways. able for the understanding of the mysteries of our holy faith. Proofs from

St.

Paul.

DOUBTS spring up before us, and hinder us from advancing as rapidly as I wish.

For as they

rise, it is

necessary to

remove them, that the truth of this doctrine may remain clear and in its full force. These doubts bring with them advantage, that, notwithstanding the delays they occasion, they subserve my teaching, and make my

this

purpose

Such

clear.

is

the present doubt.

said in the former chapter,

2. I

it is

not the will of

God

men

should seek for clear knowledge in visions and On the other hand, we locutions by supernatural ways.

that

know

method was practised under the old law, was then lawful further still, that it was not

that this

and that

it

;

only lawful but commanded, and that God rebuked men having recourse to it. He rebuked the children

for not

of Israel, because they had resolved to go

down

into

Egypt before enquiring of Him, saying to them, 'Woe who walk to go down into Egypt, and have to you .

.

.

not asked at

were

my

deceived

mouth.' *

When

the people of Israel

by the Gabaonites, the Holy Ghost

rebuked them for a like

fault, for it is

written that

*

they took of their victuals and consulted not the mouth of the

In the Holy Writings

Lord.' f

we

see that

consulted continually by Moses, by David,

God was

by

all

the

kings of Israel in their wars and necessities, by the *

Is.

xxx.

i,

i.

t

Jos. ix.

14.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxii.]

183

and prophets of old, and that He answered them, and was not provoked to anger, and that in this all was

priests

they had not consulted Him, they would have done amiss which is true. Why

well done.

Yea, moreover,

if

:

then,

may we

not,

under the new law and

grace, do what was done under the old 3.

To

this I reply, the chief reason

in the state oi

?

why

the prayers in

question were lawful under the old dispensation, and

why

was necessary for prophets and priests to seek visions and revelations from God was, that the faith was not it

then revealed, that the evangelical law was not esfablished

;

and therefore that

it

was necessary

for

men

to

God in this way, and that He should answer one time by visions, revelations and locutions, at

enquire of

them

at

another by figures and similitudes, and again by other and different ways of communication. For all the answers, locutions, and revelations of old were mysteries of the faith, or matters pertaining or tending thereto

;

inasmuch as the objects of faith proceed not from man, but from the mouth of God Himself, Who, by His own

mouth has revealed them.

when they did not

consult

should do

He

so,

that

things towards the

knowledge.

He Him

therefore rebuked

;

for

it

was His

them

will they

might answer them, directing all faith, of which they had then no

But now that the

faith of Christ is estab

and the evangelical law promulgated in this day of grace, there is no necessity to consult Him as before, lished,

He should answer and speak. He hath done, His Son, Who is

nor that us, as

He

P or in giving to His only Word,

has spoken unto us once for all by His own and only Word, and has nothing further to reveal.


THE ASCENT

184 4.

This

[BOOK

the meaning of St. Paul in those words,

is

II.

J

by

persuade the Jews to abandon the ancient ways of conversing with God, according to

which he endeavoured

to

the law of Moses, and to fix their eyes on Christ alone. '

God, Who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke,

in times past to the fathers

by the prophets,

last of all,

in these days hath spoken to us by His Son.'* now so spoken, that nothing remains unspoken

which

now

He

God hath ;

for that

He

partially revealed to the prophets

hath

revealed wholly in Him, giving unto us all, that is, And, therefore, he who should now enquire of

His Son.

God

in the ancient

Him

would offend

;

way, seeking visions or revelations, because he does not fix his eyes

upon Christ alone, disregarding all besides. To such an This is My beloved Son, in one the answer of God is '

:

whom

well pleased, hear ye Him.'t

My Word, my

all

by

in

Him

find in

am

I

Son

fix thine

;

I

have spoken

eyes upon Him, fot

have spoken and revealed all, and thou wilt Him more than thou desirest or askest. For if I

thou desirest partial visions, revelations, or words, fix thine eyes upon Him, and thou shalt find all. He is My

whole voice and answer, My whole vision and revelation, which I spoke, answered, made, and revealed, when I gave Him to be thy brother, master, companion, ransom and reward. I descended upon Him with My Spirit on

Mount Tabor, and

whom

am

I

'

said,

thee to seek

new

is

My

beloved Son, in

prayers of those Heb.

i.

I.

it

It is

not for

and responses for when I was to promise Christ and the

oracles

spoke in former times *

This

well pleased, hear ye Him.'

who then

;

:

enquired of t

St.

Me

Matth.

were prayers xvii. 5.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XXII.] for Christ

good

is

185

and expectations of His coming,

comprehended,

in

Whom

all

according to the teaching of the

Evangelists and Apostles. But, now, he who shall of Me in the ancient way, or hope for an answer enquire at My mouth, or that I should make to him any revela

shows that he

tion,

is

therefore grievously

not content with Christ, and

wrongs

My

While

beloved Son.

thou hast Christ thou hast nothing to ask of Me, nothing to desire in the

way

of visions or revelations.

Look well

unto Him, and thou wilt find that I have given all this and much more in Christ. If thou desirest a word of consolation from

Me

and is

great of

God

My

mouth, behold

My

Son obedient

to

love,

and thou wilt see how

the answer I give thee.

If thou desirest to learn

afflicted for

My

secret things,

fix.

thine eyes

upon

Christ,

and

thou wilt find the profoundest mysteries, the wisdom and marvels of God, hidden in Him In Whom,' saith '

:

'

the Apostle,

knowledge.'*

are hid all the treasures of

These treasures

will

wisdom and

be sweeter and more

profitable to thee than all those things thou desirest to

know. '

said,

It

I

was

in these that the

Apostle gloried when he

judged not myself to know anything among you

but Jesus Christ and

Him

crucified.f

If thou desirest

other visions and revelations, divine or bodily, look upon

His Sacred Humanity, and thou wilt

more

find there

than can ever enter into thy thoughts, 'for in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead corporally.' J

unbecoming to enquire of God by supernatural ways, and there is no necessity that He 5. It is, therefore,

should reply, for as *

Coloss.

ii.

3.

He

has spoken by Christ, t

I

Co.

ii.

2.

we ought

J Coloss.

ii.

9.

to


THE ASCENT

186

He who

desire nothing more.

[BOOK

shall

now

desire to

II.

J

know

anything by extraordinary supernatural ways, implies a defect in God, as if He had not given us enough when

He

For though we should

gave us His only Son.

enquire of

admitting the faith and believing

Him,

should be guilty of curiosity showing but

we

are thus curious

receive

little faith.

If

expect to be taught, nor

For

any other help in the supernatural way.

moment when

we

at

dying on the cross cried out, is consummated,'* not these forms of prayer only, but the rites and ceremonies also of the old law were

that '

we cannot

it,

it

all

Christ,

done away with.

We must,

be guided in everything by the teaching of Christ, of His Church and ministers, and 6.

through

and

it

therefore,

seek the remedy for It is in this

infirmities.

abundant

all

way

our spiritual ignorance that

we

shall obtain

an

goes beyond this, or neglects it, and we are to is not curiosity only, but great rashness which does not rest on rely upon nothing supernatural relief; all that

;

the teaching- of ministers. St.

So great

Paul said

' :

God and man, and

Christ, is

Though

the obligation to do

of His this, that

we, or an angel from heaven,

you a gospel, beside that which you have received, let him be anathema.'f Seeing, then, that it preach to

is

true that

we must

it

abide in the teaching of Christ,

nothing and not to be believed, unless be in harmony therewith, he laboureth in vain who

that all beside

is

attempts to converse with the ancient dispensation. in those

days

for

God according Moreover,

it

to the

was not

everyone to enquire of God

*St. John. xix. 30.

t Galat.

i.

8.

way

of

lawful neither


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxii.] did

God answer everyone but only

the prophets, for

it

was

at their

187

for the priests

mouth

and

men were

that

to

seek for the law and knowledge. Whenever, therefore, did so of he God, anyone enquired through a prophet or a priest, and not by himself. And if David from time

God, it was because he was himself a prophet, and even then he did not do so without assuming the priestly robe as we learn from his words

to time enquired of

;

bring me hither the ephod,'* which was one of the chief sacerdotal vestments. When the ephod

to Abiathar,

*

was brought, then

was he enquired of God. But at other times he made use of the services of Nathan and

other prophets.

it

Men were

what the

to believe that

them came from God, because it was spoken by the mouth of prophets and of priests, and not because they themselves judged it safe. The words

priests said to

of

God

in those

relied on, unless uttered

prophets

;

for

it is

by

mouth

the

the will of

God

governed and directed by another that

Him

days were not meant by

we should not

that

man

be

fully

of priests

and

man

should be

like himself,

give entire belief to

and

His own super

natural communications, nor rely securely until they shall

to

upon them,

have passed through the human channel And so it is, whenever He

of another man's mouth.

inclining that soul,

known,

human

it

His revelation.

Until then, the

and him

to the matter of

He

does so by should be made

reveals anything to the

to

soul,

whom

soul will be destitute of entire satisfaction therein, in

order that himself, place.

and

man may obtain it through whom God has appointed to *

l

Kings xxiiL

9.

another like stand in His


THE ASCENT

188 7.

We read in the book of

[BOOK

the Judges that so

it

II.

J

was

whom God had more than once promised over the Madianites. He continued, nevertheless,

with Gedeon, to victory

and

to hesitate

until

fear,

God having

left

him

in his weakness,

men that which God So when God saw him hesitate,

he heard from the mouth of

had announced Himself. lie said

unto

go down

him, 'Arise, and

into

the

camp .... and when

thou shalt hear what they are saying, then shall thy hands be strengthened, and thou

go down more secure into the when So he had penetrated within

enemies' camp.'*

shalt

Madianites, he heard one of them

the

camp

another

tell

of the

how he

dreamed that Gedeon conquered them. Upon this he took courage, and with great joy made his preparations appears from that he should not feel secure for battle.

It

that God's will

this, till

was

he heard from another,

what God had revealed himself.

A

Moses is more wonderful him still. with many instructions, confirming God sent them by miracles the rod he had was changed into a serpent, and his hand became leprous to be the deliverer 8.

like event in the life of

of the people of Israel. hesitating,

and doubtful of

But Moses was so weak, his course, that,

notwith

standing God's being angry with him, he could not resolve to undertake his work until God encouraged him

by the mouth of Aaron is

thy brother

;

I

know

his brother

that he

cometh forth to meet glad

at heart.

his mouth,

and

*

Judg.

Speak I will vii.

9,

be ii.

is

* :

Aaron the Levite

eloquent

;

behold, he

thee, and, seeing thee, shall be

to

him, and put

in thy

mouth and t Ex.

iv.

my

words

in

in his mouth.'f 14, 15.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XXII.]

189

When Moses

heard this he took courage, in the hope of that comfort which he was to receive from the counsels of his brother Aaron. 9.

Such, too,

is

the conduct of the

humble

soul

:

it

will

God by itself, neither can without human counsel and direction.

not presume to converse with satisfy itself

it

also, is the will of

Such,

who come and

God, for

together in the

them

to strengthen

the case of Moses and

mouth

of

in

it,

the midst of

make

He

it

clear,

to

has promised us in His gospel

same way, saying, 'Where there are name, there am I Where two or three meei

two or three gathered together in

draws near to those

do in promised namely, to be in the

as

Aaron

He

them both.

to help us in the

way

He

of truth, to

them.' *

together, to consider

what

in

is for

My

the greater glory and

name, there am I in the midst of them, enlightening them, and confirming the truths of God in their hearts. Remember, He does not say Where one honour of

My

:

is,

but where two are, at the

know

that

it is

He would

on the divine communications

;

and that

will not establish us therein without the authority

and direction of the Church or His ministers. not enlighten him his heart

Woe

none

:

him

to

to

lift

who

is

St.

will

that

him

on by the preacher, saying, alone, for when he falleth, he hath

insisted

is

is

And if two lie together, they shall how shall one alone be warmed And

up.

warm one another: if a man prevail against *

God

alone, nor confirm the truth in

such an one will be weak and cold.

This truth

10. *

have us

not His will that anyone should, trusting

to himself, rely

He

least.

Matt,

xviii

20.

?

one,

two

shall withstand him.'f

t Eccles.

iv.

10,

u,

12.


THE ASCENT

190

They

t

shall

he that

is

warm one

another

'

[BOOK

in the fire of

God

;

IT.]

and

alone cannot be but cold in the things of God.

one prevail against those who are alone in their spiritual affairs, two, that is the penitent and his If the evil

director, shall

resist

him when they come together

And

learn and practise the truth.

be done, he who

is

alone

is

to

in general, until this

weak and lukewarm

in

it,

though he may have heard it of God St. Paul himself, having preached the gospel for some time, and having received it, not from man, but from

more than once.

God, would not proceed further without conferring with * St. Peter and the other Apostles, lest he should run, or

had run

in vain.' *

11. It is clear

from these words of the Apostle, that

it is

not safe to rely on that which seems to be a revelation

from God, except under the conditions I have described. For even if a person were certain that a particular revelation for

is

from God, as

he had begun to preach

err in the execution of his to

He

St.

it.

it

Paul was of the gospel still such an one might

work and

in matters pertaining

For God does not always reveal the one, while

reveals the other;

without revealing

frequently

how it

is

He

reveals a matter

to be brought about

because,

in general, all that is within the province of

human

He does not Himself perform nor He declare, though may have conversed familiarly for a time with him to whom the revelation is made. long sagacity and skill

St.

Paul understood this well, for though he knew that was a divine revelation, he

the gospel he preached conferred

'

with St. Peter. *

Gal.

ii.

2.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. xxii. J

191

We Lave a most clear illustration of this truth in the

12.

Though God conversed so familiarly with him, He never gave him the salutary counsel which life

of Moses.

Jethro suggested, that he should appoint other judges to assist him, that the people might not wait from morning '

till

'Provide out of

night.'

whom

such as fear God, in

all

there

the people able men, is

truth

.

,

who may

.

*

God approved of the judge the people at the times.' counsel of Jethro, but He gave it not, because the matter was within the

limits of

human prudence and

In the same way, too,

13.

and divine

all

discretion.

things relating to visions

which are within the compass

locutions,

ot

human prudence and discretion, are not made known to us by God it being always His will, that we should make use of our natural endowments, so far as possible :

;

except in matters of faith, which transcend the province of judgment and reason, though they are not contrary to

Let no man, therefore, imagine, although God and His Saints converse familiarly with him about many

them.

things, that they will also reveal to

him the

faults h*e

commits with respect to the matter of the revelation for he may ascertain these in another way. We must not ;

be too confident in this matter

;

for St. Peter himself, the

prince of the Church, and immediately taught of God, fell

was

into error in his intercourse with the Gentiles. silent,

himself:

and

'When

God

Paul rebuked him, as he tells us saw that they walked not uprightly

St. I

unto the truth of the Gospel, I said to Cephas, before them all If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner :

of the Gentiles,

and not as the Jews do, how dost thou *

Ex.

xviii.

21, 22.


THE ASCENT

i.92

[BOOK '

II.]

*

God did compel the Gentiles to live as do the Jews not warn Peter of his fault, because lie might have ?

known it in the ordinary way. In the day of judgment God will punish many for sins and errors, with whom

He

holds familiar intercourse now, and to

gives

much

light

and strength

whom He

because they are negli they ought to do relying on ;

gent in what they know their converse with Him, and disregarding all besides. Such persons will then be astonished, as our Lord tells us

;

and they

phesied in

*

will cry,

Lord, Lord, have

Thy name, and cast out

we

not pro

devils in

Thy name, name The answer ot Thy the Judge will be, I never knew you depart from Me, you that work iniquity/ f Of the number of these was Balaam, and others like him, who were sinners, even though God held converse with them. God will also rebuke the elect, His own friends, with whom He con and done many miracles

'

in

r

'

;

versed familiarly in this life, for the faults and negli gences of which they are guilty. It is not necessary for Him to warn them now directly, because He has given

them reason and the natural law

to

remind them of their

errors. 14.

and

In conclusion, then, I say

I

gather

it

from the

foregoing principle that all communications made to the soul, of whatever kind and in whatever form, ought to

and simply revealed to our spiritual director forthwith, and in all truthfulness. Though such communications seem to us of no moment, and not worth be

clearly, distinctly,

the time they take

them

seeing that the soul, by rejecting them and making no account of *

Gal.

ii.

14.

up

in recounting

t

St.

Matt.

vii.

22, 23.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. xxn.J

them, remains secure, as

I

193

have said and more especially ;

they are visions or revelations or other supernatural visitations, whether clear or not, or whether it be of little if

importance or none

still

absolutely necessary to

is

it

we may think otherwise ourselves. There are three reasons why it should be done 15. God reveals many things, the fruit, meaning, and reveal them, though

:

certainty of he,

which

whom God

He

does not establish in the soul until

has constituted the spiritual judge of that

has had them before him

soul,

power

have given. ;

for

it is

he who has the

bind and to loose, to approve and

to

communications, as I have

truth

;

shown by the

reject,

those

illustrations I

Daily experience teaches us the same

humble

for those

souls, to

whom

these visitations

are made, attain to renewed satisfaction, strength, en lightenment, and security, as soon as they have revealed

them

Yea, such

to the rightful person.

is

the fruit of this

some who, until they had revealed them, thought they had received them not, and that they were not theirs, after revealing them receive them as it were submission, that

anew. 16.

are

In general the soul to

made needs

directed in that

which

is

instruction

way

these communications

therein,

to poverty of spirit

the dark night.

tions fail

whom

For

if

that

it

may be

and detachment,

the necessary instruc

even when the soul does not seek these things unconscious rudeness in the

the result will be an spiritual

way, and a going back

into

the

way

of

sense.

An

unreserved communication is necessary for and humbling mortifying the soul, though we make no 17.


THE ASCENT

194

[BOOK

II.

J

account of these visions, and regard them not. For there are some souls who have a great repugnance to reveal these matters, because they think

importance, and do not deal with them.

know how

them

to

be of no

their spiritual director

a want of humility, and may therefore such persons must submit to reveal them. On

This

the other hand, there are

make known

is

some who are ashamed

these things, lest they should

like the saints, or for other reasons

pain when they

speak.

which

fill

seem

to

to

be

them with

These, therefore, think them

selves dispensed from manifesting their state, because

they attribute no importance to it. But this is the very reason why they should mortify themselves, and reveal

what has passed within them, until they become humble, gentle, and ready in this, and ever afterwards reveal with 18.

facility their interior state.

But remember, though I say that these communi and that confessors should be

cations are to be set aside, careful not to discuss

them with

right for spiritual directors to

their penitents,

it is

not

show themselves severe

any contempt or aversion lest their penitents should shrink within themselves, and be afraid to reveal their condition, and so fall into many in in the matter, or betray

;

conveniences, which would be the case

if

the door were

thus shut against them. For, as I said before, these are means in 'the hands of God visitations supernatural

guiding souls, and, being such, they must not be lightly regarded by spiritual directors, who are not to for

be surprised nor scandalised at them yea, rather, they must treat them with gentleness and calmness, encour ;

aging their penitents, and giving them every opportunity


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxiii.] to explain them.

join upon them is

And,

if it

be necessary, they must en

this manifestation, for at times,

necessary in the difficulty,

when they have them by

195

to reveal their state.

faith, carefully

everything

which penitents experience Let them direct

instructing them

to turn

away

from these supernatural visitations, showing them how to be detached therefrom in mind and desire, so that they may advance, and understand that one good work, or act of the will, wrought in charity

eyes of God, than that which

heaven might

tions of

whom

effect

all ;

in the

way

many have been

Of the

whom

XXIII.

purely spiritual apprehensions of the understanding.

concise in the discussion of those

intellectual apprehensions

senses,

more

given.

HAVE been somewhat if

we regard

which are derived from the

the abundance of the matter, and I

pursue it at greater length because, so purpose is concerned which is the extrication

unwilling to

far as

souls, to

of perfection, than others to

CHAPTER

am

and that many

visions have never come, are incomparably

advanced

I

more precious in the the visions and revela

is

my

;

of the understanding from them, and the direction of it into the night of faith

enough.

I shall,

I think I

have said more than

now, therefore, enter on the discussion

of the other four apprehensions of the understanding,

which, in the tenth chapter, I said were purely spiritual

namely, visions, revelations, locutions, and spiritual 1 call these purely spiritual, because they impressions.


THE ASCENT

196

do

not, like those

[BOOK mj

which are bodily and imaginary, reach

the understanding

by the way of the senses of the body

but because they reach

;

independently of every bodily sense, interior or exterior, clearly and distinctly in a it

supernatural way, and passively of, at least,

any

active operation

that

;

irrespectively

is,

on the part of the soul

itself.

2.

Speaking generally, we may say that these four ap

prehensions

may

that the soul sees

as

all

be called visions of the soul

when

it

;

for

we say

And inasmuch

understands.

these apprehensions are intelligible to the under

standing,

we say

that they are spiritually visible

;

and

therefore the particular intelligence of them, formed in

the understanding,

And

may

be called intellectual vision.

as all the objects of the senses

smelling, tasting,

and touching

of seeing, hearing,

in so far as they are

true or false, are objects of the understanding, that, as all that is bodily visible is

real visions to the bodily eyes is

an occasion of spiritual vision to the

the soul, which

is

the understanding

to understand is to see.

And

these four apprehensions

may

follows

an occasion of corpo

so all that

,

it

;

is intelligible

spiritual eye of

for,

as I have said,

speaking generally, The be called visions.

thus,

other senses, however, cannot be thus applied, for not

.

one of them is capable of receiving, as such, the subjectmatter of another.

But as these apprehensions are represented to the soul in the same manner as to all the senses, it follows, to 3.

use the proper and specific terms, that

derstanding receives

by

the

way

all

of seeing

spiritually, as the eyes see bodily

which the un for

it

may be called

can see vision

;


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxiii.] that

which

new

things, revelation

it

receives

of hearing, locution

by apprehending and perceiving ;

that which

it

receives

and that which

it

by the way

receives in the

of the other senses, such as spiritual odour, taste,

way and

;

197

:

delectation, of

which the soul

is

supernaturally con

From all scious, may be called spiritual impressions. this the understanding elicits an act of intelligence or spiritual vision,

as I have said, without perceiving

any

form, image, or figure whatever of the natural imagina

which could furnish any foundation for it these things are communicated directly to the soul by

tion or fancy, for

:

a supernatural operation and by supernatural means. 4.

The understanding,

from them

therefore,

must be withdrawn

precisely as from the corporeal

and imaginary

apprehensions -by being guided

and directed

spiritual night of faith to the divine

and substantial union

of the love of God, that

it

may

in the

not be embarrassed and

made

stupid by them, and thereby be hindered on the road of solitude, and detachment necessary for that end.

be granted that these apprehensions are of a higher kind, more profitable and much more safe than those It it

which are corporeal and imaginary, because they are interior, purely spiritual, and less liable to the intrusions

and because they are communications of God to in the greatest pureness and subtilty, indepen

of satan,

the soul,

dent

of,

at least,

the imagination

any active operations of the soul or ;

still

the understanding

only embarrassed by them, but, because of

may

its

of

be not

incautious-

ness, greatly deluded. 5.

I

might now

together,

finish

with these four apprehensions

by giving advice common

to

them

all,

as I hav


THE ASCENT

198

course will enlighten us still

something it

to

:

still,

:

how

view

I

do

to

now proceed

them

and as there

so,

be said with reference

well to treat of each one of

this

is

to them, I think

With

in particular.

speak of the

to

II.]

namely let no man seek inasmuch as a different

already done with the others

them or desire them

[BOOK

of

first

them

spiritual or intellectual visions.

CHAPTER XXIV. Ot the two kinds of

spiritual visions

which come by the super

natural way.

SAY, then, speaking directly of the spiritual visions, independent of any bodily sense, that there are two kinds I

which the understanding is liable one of corporeal substances, another of disembodied or unembodied sub to

:

stances.

The

corporeal visions are visions of

all

material

things in heaven and earth, visible to the soul in a certain light emanating from God, in which the distant things of heaven and earth

may be

seen.

The

visions of incorporeal things require a higher light visions of incorporeal substances, as of angels souls, are neither frequent still

nor natural in this

less so is the vision of the divine essence,

peculiar to the blessed, unless siently

it

other :

thus

and

life

;

of

and

which

is

be communicated tran

by a dispensation of God, or by conservation of life and condition, and the abstraction of the

our natural spirit

;

as

was perhaps the case of

heard the unutterable 1

Whether

secrets

in

in the body', saith he, 'I

Paul when he

St.

the

know

third

heaven,

not, or out of


[CHAP,

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

xxiv.]

know

the body, I

not

;

God

knoweth.'*

the words of the Apostle that he himself, 2,

by the

was

It is clear

from

carried out of

act of God, as to his natural existence.

It is also believed that

He

to Moses, for

199

said unto

God showed His own him that

He would

essence set

him

a hole of the rock, and protect him with His right hand, that he might not die when His glory passed by.f in

This passing by was a transient vision, God upholding with His right hand the natural life of Moses. But these essential visions, such as those of St. Paul, Moses,

and

our father Elias, when, at the whistling of a gentle

air,

he covered his face with his mantle,'* are transient and *

of most rare occurrence, to very

few

;

for

these, are the 3.

and scarcely ever granted, and

God shows them only

to those

who,

like

mighty ones of His Church and law.

Now, though,

in the ordinary course, these visions

cannot be clearly and distinctly seen in this life, the effect of them may be felt in the very substance of the soul, through the instrumentality of a loving knowledge, in the

most sweet touch and union pertaining

to the

by the grace of God, I The end I have in view is the

spiritual impressions, of which,

shall

speak

hereafter.

divince embracing, the union of the soul with the divine

speak of it when I treat of the mystical, confused, or obscure intelligence, and explain how, in this loving and obscure knowledge, God unites substance.

I

shall

For Himself, with the soul, eminently and divinely. obscure which is serves this loving faith, knowledge, in a

manner, in this *

2 Qir.

xii. a.

life

t Ex.

as

means

xxxiii. 22.

of the divine union,

13

Kings

xix. 13.


THE ASCENT

200

[BOOK

n.]

as the light of glory hereafter serves for the beatific vision. 4.

Let

me

now, then, speak of visions of corporeal

substances, spiritually presented to the soul, after the

manner of bodily

visions.

As

the eyes behold bodily

things in natural light, so the understanding, in light

beholds

derived,

supernaturally

however,

vision,

is different in

same

the

interiorly

natural things, and others also such as

God

wills

;

the

kind and form, for spiritual

much more clear and subtile When God grants this favour to

or intellectual visions are

than bodily visions.

any one, He communicates to him that supernatural light, of which I have spoken, wherein he beholds what

God

wills,

most easily and most

whether they

distinctly,

neither is their be things of heaven or of earth presence nor their absence any impediment to the vision. ;

5.

When

these visions occur,

it is

as

if

a door were

opened into a most marvellous light, whereby the soul sees, as men do when the lightning suddenly flashes in a dark night. The lightning makes surrounding objects visible for an instant, and then leaves them in darkness, though the forms of them remain in the fancy. But in the case of the soul the vision

those

things

it

saw

in

is

spirit

much more in that

perfect

light

;

are

for

so

impressed upon it, that whenever God enlightens it again, it beholds them as distinctly as it did at first, precisely as in a mirror, in which we see objects reflected whenever

we look upon

it.

These visions once granted

never afterward leave tho?jgii

of time.

it

altogether ;

to the soul

for the foniss remain,

they become somewhat indistinct in the course


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxiv.] 6.

The effects

201

of these visions in the soul are quietness,

enlightenment, joy like glory, sweetness, pureness, love, humility, inclination, or elevation of the mind to God,

sometimes more, sometimes less, sometimes more of one, sometimes more of another, according to the disposition of the soul and the will of God. 7.

The

can produce or mimic these visions by

devil, too,

means of a

the fancy, in which, clearly before the

And some

He

employs therein insinuations, he presents

certain natural light.

by spiritual mind either present

or distant things,

commenting on that place in the written that the devil showed our

doctors,

Gospel where

it is

'

*

kingdoms of the world,'* say that he did so by a spiritual insinuation, because it was impossible to see at once all the kingdoms of the world and the Lord

'all the

'

glory of them

'

great difference

:

is

a

between the visions of God and those of

For the

the evil one.

of the former

But there

with the bodily eyes.

effect of the latter is

not like that

those of satan result in dryness of

spirit,

a tendency to self-esteem, to accept and make much of visions and in no degree whatever do they produce the gentleness of humility, and love of God. Again, the in

:

forms of the diabolic visions do not remain impressed on the soul with the sweet clearness of the others, neither

do they endure, yea, rather, are immediately except when" the soul attaches itself to them

effaced,

:

in that

case the importance attached to them causes them to be

remembered

naturally, but with great dryness of spirit,

and without the S.

Matt.

iv.,q. 49-

iv.

8

;

fruit of

vide S. Thorn,

humility and love, which issue p.

3, q. 41,

a. 2,

3

;

Abulensem

in Matt.


THE ASCENT

202

[BOOK

II.]

out of the good visions, whenever they recur to the

memory. 8. These visions, inasmuch as they are visions of created no congruity or things, between which and God there is proportion, cannot subserve the understanding as proxi

mate means of the divine union.

It

is,

therefore, necessary

be negatively disposed with respect to them, as well as to the others, if it is to advance by the proximate means, which is faith. And therefore the forms

for the soul to

which these visions show, and which remain impressed on the soul, must not be treasured up nor preserved, for this would be to neither must we trust to them ;

embarrass ourselves by dwelling on forms, images, and persons, which relate to the interior life, and not to

advance

in the denial of all things

onwards unto God.

For supposing that these forms are continually present, that would be no great hindrance, if we make no account of them.

Though

it

be true that the recollection of them

excites the soul to a certain love of God, plation, yet pure faith

and

and detachment

to

in

contem

darkness

much more, without the soul's knowing how or whence it cometh. The end of this will be that the soul excites

it

goes forward, on fire with the anxieties of the most pure love of God, without knowing whence they come or on In short, as faith is rooted what foundations they rest.

and infused more and more into the

soul, in this

ness and darkness, in detachment from

poverty of spirit

empti

all things,

in

these are different expressions of one

and the same thing so also the charity of God is the more rooted and infused into the soul. And therefore the

more the soul

strives to

become blind and annihilated


I

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

CHAP. XXIV.]

as to

and exterior things, the more it will be and love and hope. But this love at

all interior

filled

with faith

times

is

neither comprehended nor

not establish

203

felt,

because

it

does

in the senses with tenderness, but in

itself

the soul with fortitude, with greater courage and resolu tion than before

senses,

though

;

and shows

itself

it

sometimes overflows into the

tender and gentle.

In order, then, to attain to this love, joy, and delight which visions effect, it is necessary that the soul 9.

should have fortitude, and be mortified

;

so as to abide

and darkness, and to lay the love and delight on what it neither sees

willingly in emptiness

foundation of its

nor

feels,

on what

it

cannot see nor feel

namely, on God

Our way to Him, is self-denial. Even if a soul

incomprehensible and supreme. therefore, of necessity, in

were so wise, strong, and humble that the devil could not delude it by visions, nor make it presumptuous, as he will

generally does,

it

obstacles in the

way

of

spirit,

make no

progress, because

it

puts

of spiritual detachment and poverty

and emptiness

in faith, the essential conditions

of the divine union. 10.

As the

principles established in the nineteenth and

the twentieth chapters, concerning the visions and super natural apprehensions of the senses,

are applicable to

these visions also, I shall not spend further time treating of

them

at greater length-

now

in


THE ASCENT

204

[BOOK

II.]

CHAPTER XXV. Of revelations I

HAVE now

:

their nature

which

I

down, of the have called revelations.

Of these, some properly belong to first

closure of

division.

to speak, in the order laid

spiritual apprehensions,

In the

and

the spirit of prophecy.

place, a revelation is nothing else but the dis truth, or the manifestation of some

some hidden

For instance, God permits a certain

secret or mystery.

by declaring the the understanding, or makes known certain

soul to understand a particular matter, truth of it to

He

things that

This being

so,

of revelations standing,

this

is

we may say

doing, or intends to do.

that that there are two kinds

knowledge or a manifestation of secrets, and

called

the other,

;

is

one, the disclosure of truths to the under

properly

intelligence

former.

;

hath done,

intellectual

called revelation with

The first kind,

revelation, because

it

more propriety than the

strictly speaking,

consists in God's

cannot be called

making

the soul

which regard not only temporal but also spiritual things, showing them openly and I have resolved to treat of them under the distinctly.

to understand pure truths,

term revelations

first,

and proximity, and,

because of their mutual connection secondly,

because I would not

multiply distinctions. 2. I

distinguish revelations therefore into two kinds of

apprehensions

intellectual

tation of the secrets

knowledge, and the manifes

and hidden mysteries of God.

shall conclude the subject, with the

two chapters

;

and,

first,

I

utmost brevity, in

of intellectual knowledge.


OF MOUNT CARMRL.

[CHAP, xxvi.]

205

CHAPTER XXVI. The knowledge

of

pure truths.

Two

kinds thereof.

The conduct

of the soul therein

THIS knowledge of pure truths explanation, that

God

requires, for its proper should hold the hand and wield

mind, my dear reader, that these matters are beyond all words. But as my purpose is not to discuss them, but to teach and direct the soul through them to the divine union, it will be the pen of the writer.

enough

if I

so far as

in

Keep

speak of them concisely within certain

my

subject requires

limits,

it.

This kind of visions, or rather knowledge of pure truths, is very different from that described in the 2.

iwenty-second chapter, for

is

it

not the same with the

intellectual visions of bodily things.

It consists in

com

prehending or seeing with the understanding the truths of God, or of things, or concerning things which are,

have been, or

will be.

most

It is

like to the spirit of

This prophecy, as I shall perhaps hereafter explain. kind of knowledge is twofold one relates to the Creator, :

And though

the other to creatures. full

both kinds are most

of sweetness, the delight produced

by

that which

relates to God is not to be compared with aught beside and there are neither words nor language to describe it, for it is the knowledge of God Himself and his delights

;

;

as the Psalmist saith, 3.

*

There

is

no one

like to

Thee/*

This knowledge relates directly unto God, in the

deepest sense of some of His attributes *

Ps. xxxix. 6.

;

now

of His


THE ASCENT

206

omnipotence,

now

penetrated by

it.

;

II.]

and again of His good

of His might,

ness and sweetness

[BOOK

and whenever the soul

feels

it, it

is

In so far as this becomes pure con

templation, the soul sees clearly that

it

cannot describe

otherwise than in general terms, which the abundance of delight and happiness forces from it; but still those it

what

are not adequate expressions of

it

feels within.

Thus David, having had experience of this state, makes use of ordinary words, saying, 'The judgments of the what we judge and feel about God, His might and His attributes, are true, justified in them selves, more to be desired than gold and many precious

Lord,' that

is,

'

and sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.' * 4. When God gave Moses the knowledge of Himself,

stones,

while passing by, all that Moses could say was uttered in ordinary words. For when the Lord passed before

him he

fell

prostrate on his face, and said,

'

O

the Lord,

the Lord God, merciful and gracious, patient and of

much compassion and thousands!'!

Who

true,

It is evident

from

keepest mercy unto this that

unable to describe what he learned of cular knowledge,

and so gave utterance

And though

at times,

to the soul,

words are

when

this

Moses was

in that parti

to these words.

knowledge

is

uttered, yet the soul

vouchsafed

knows

full

has in nowise expressed what it felt, because conscious that there are no words of adequate signi

well that it is

God

fication.

it

Thus

St. Paul,

admitted to this knowledge of

God, did not attempt to express

had heard '

secret

words which

it

only saying that he was not granted to man it,

to utter.'+ *

Ps. xviii. II.

t Ex.

xxxiv. 6,

7.

2 Cor.

xii. 4.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

LCHAP. xxvi.j

207

This divine knowledge concerning God never relates to particular things, because it is conversant with the 5.

Highest, and therefore cannot be explained unless is

it

when

extended to some truth less than God, which

is

capable of being described but this general knowledge is ineffable. It is only a soul in union with God that is ;

capable of this profound loving knowledge, for it is itself that union. This knowledge consists in a certain contact of the soul with the Divinity, and

it is

God Himself

Who

tasted, though not manifestly and dis be in glory. But this touch of know ledge and of sweetness is so strong and so profound that it penetrates into the inmost substance of the soul, and

then

is

felt

tinctly, as

it

and

will

the devil cannot interfere with

nor produce anything like it because there is nothing else comparable with it nor infuse any sweetness or delight which shall at all

resemble

it,

This knowledge

it.

savours,

in

some

measure, of the divine essence and of everlasting

and the

devil has

life,

no power to simulate anything so

great. 6.

Nevertheless the devil

is

able to produce certain

it, by representing to the soul a and sensible fulness, striving to per

pretended imitations of certain grandeur

suade that this

is

God

;

but he cannot so do this as that

his influence shall penetrate into the

the soul, renew

knowledge of

it,

and

God

fill it

does.

interior part of

with love profoundly, as the

For there are some

acts of

knowledge and touches of God, wrought by Him in the substance of the soul, which so enrich it that one of

them

is sufficient,

not only to purge

imperfections, which

had hitherto

away

at once certain

resisted the efforts of a


THE ASCENT

808

whole

but also to

life,

Such

divine gifts.

is

the sweetness and deep delight ot

them

number

more than a

is

for all the sufferings of this

recompense

II.]

the soul with virtues and

fill

these touches of God, that one of

great their

[BOOK

life,

however

the soul so generous

They render

and so courageous in the endurance of afflictions for God, tnat it becomes a special pain to see its tribula tions diminished. 7.

Now

the soul can never ascend to the height of this reflections or imagination, because

knowledge by any transcends

all these,

and so God

co-operation of the soul.

thinks of

least

touches

it

it,

without the

Sometimes, when the soul

and when

desires

least

it

it,

divinely, causing certain recollections of

Sometimes,

self.

effects it

it

God

Him

too, the divine touches are sudden,

occurring even while the soul

is

occupied with something

and that occasionally of trifling moment. They are also so sensible and efficacious, that at times they

else,

make not only the soul, but the body also, to tremble. At other times they come gently, without any agitation whatever, accompanied by a deep sense of delight and spiritual refreshing. 8.

On

other occasions, they

come

at the hearing or ut

terance of a word, whether taken from the or elsewhere.

and

Holy Scripture But they are not always equally sensible

efficacious,

slight

;

for

they are very often exceedingly

but however slight they and touches of God

the soul than any other knowledge

is

one of these profitable to

of,

or meditation on,

and works of God. And as this knowledge communicated suddenly, and independently of the

the creatures is

be,

more

may

recollections


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XXVI.] will,

209

the soul must not strive to receive

to receive

it,

nor strive not

it,

but be humble and resigned

do His own work, how and when

He

will.

;

for I

God

will

do not say

that the soul is to conduct itself negatively here, as in

the case of the other apprehensions

;

because the divine

touches are a part of the union, to which I would direct the soul, and for attaining unto which I teach

draw and detach which God

from

itself

it

to with

The means by

all besides.

work must be humility and Him, with resignation, and These graces are not reward.

effects this

great

patient suffering for love of indifference as to

all

bestowed on the soul which cleaves to anything of its own, inasmuch as they are wrought by an especial love of

God towards

the soul, which also loves

Him

in perfect

This is the detachment and pure disinterestedness. ' that loveth He meaning of those words of our Lord,

Me and

shall

My Father

be loved of

:

and

to him.' *

will manifest

I will love

him,

These words

refer

Myself knowledge and these touches, of which I am speaking, and which God manifests to the soul that

to this

truly loves him. 9.

The second kind

of knowledge, or of visions of in

very different from this, being of things lower than God. It includes the perception of the greatly truth of things in themselves, of actions and events in the

terior truths, is

world.

Such

is

the nature of this knowledge, whenever

compels assent, without regard to any assertion on the part of others even if the matter be it is

given, that

it

;

told otherwise, the soul

that account, though

it *

unable to assent interiorly to may do violence to itself for that is

St.

John

xiv. 21.


THE ASCENT

210

The mind

end.

[BOOK

II.

1

perceives something else in that which

had been spiritually presented to it, and sees it, as it were, clearly. This may belong to the spirit of prophecy,

which

or to that gift *

St.

Paul

'

calls

the discerning of

though the soul may hold what it per ceives to be certain and true, it must not on that account spirits/

Still,

and obedience

belief

refuse

to

its

spiritual

director,

though his counsels plainly contradict the impressions received.

This must be done in order that the soul

may

be directed in faith to the divine union, towards which

should journey by believing rather

it

than by under

standing. 10.

The Holy

the one

things

is

Scriptures furnish clear evidence of both

and the

The

other.

particular

thus spoken of by the wise

knowledge

man

' :

He

of

hath

given

me

know

the disposition of the whole world and the virtues

the true knowledge of the things that are

to

The beginning and ending, and midst

of the elements. of the times

:

the alterations of their courses, and the

;

changes of seasons

;

the revolutions of the year, and the

dispositions of the stars

;

the natures of living creatures

and the rage of wild beasts reasonings of

men

;

;

the force of winds, and

the diversities

of plants, and the

such things as are hid and not foreseen, I have learned for wisdom, which is the worker of all things, taught me. f And though this knowledge virtues of roots

;

and

all

:

5

of

all

things,

which the wise

man

says he had received

from God, was infused and general, the passage before us

is sufficient

evidence for

all

the particular knowledge

which God infuses into souls supernaturally, according to *

I

Cor.

xii.

10.

t Wisd.

vii.

17, 21.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxvi.]

211

He gives

a general habit of knowledge, as He gave to Solomon, but that He reveals occasionally certain truths concerning those matters ol

His good pleasure

which the wise 11.

:

not that

man

speaking here.

is

Though our Lord,

it is

true, infuses into

habits of knowledge relating to

many

many

things,

souls

still

He

does not infuse them so generally as in the case oi Solomon. There is a difference like that between the gifts,

mentioned by

St. Paul,

which God distributes

;

these are wisdom, knowledge, faith, prophecy,

among

discerning of

spirits, divers

kinds of tongues, and inter

To one indeed, by the Spirit, is pretation of speeches given the word of wisdom .... and to another the word of knowledge, ... to another faith, ... to another '

:

prophecy, to another the discerning of spirits, to another divers kinds of tongues, to another interpretation of speeches/

*

All these kinds of knowledge are infused

graces gratis data, gratuitously given of God to whom He will, as He gave them to the holy prophets and the Apostles, and to other saints. 12.

But over and above these

perfect persons, or those

who

gifts,

or graces gratis data,

are advancing to perfection,

very frequently receive the knowledge of things present or distant, in a certain illumination of their purified and enlightened mind. The following words in the book ol Proverbs are applicable in this sense * As the faces ol :

them that look of

men

therein, shine in the water, so the hearts

are laid open to the prudent.' f

understood of those *

O2

I

Cor.

xii.

who have 8,

IO.

This

is

to

be

attained to the science of t Prov.

x*vii.

19.


THE ASCENT

212 the saints, in

same way,

Holy Scripture

[BOOK

called prudence.*

II.]

In the

persons understand other things,

too, spiritual

though not always when they will for this gift is theirs only who have the habit of this knowledge, and even they sometimes are at fault, because all this depends on :

the good pleasure of God. 13.

Those persons, whose minds are

with great

facility,

some

purified, ascertain

better than others,

what

is

passing in the hearts of men, their inclinations and

from certain outward signs, however slight they may be, such as expressions, motions, or gestures. As the devil, being a spirit, can their capacities

do

this,

and

;

this

the spiritual man, according to the

so also

words of the Apostle The spiritual man judgeth all things,' f and *the Spirit searcheth all things, even the '

:

deep things of God.'*

Therefore, though spiritual

know

cannot, in the order of nature, intentions of others, yet

through

certain

meant., for the devil

of this,

we

yet for the most part they will

But we are not

1

cunning, as

by supernatural enlightenment,

And they may well do so. be often deceived in their interpre

tation of these signs,

be correct.

we

the thoughts and

signs,

may

though they

men

to rely

on any of these

may insinuate herein with and

shall presently see,

exceeding

in

consequence must renounce this method and form of

knowledge. 14. Spiritual

persons are able to see, though far away,

what other men are doing. this in

Giezi *

We

have an instance of

our holy father Eliseus, who saw his servant hide the gifts he had received from Naaman.

Ib. ix. 10, Scientia

sanctorum prudentia.

t

I

Cor.

ii.

15.

Ib.

10.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxvi.j

Was the

213

my heart present/ saith the prophet, 'when turned back from his chariot to meet thee ?'*

not

man

Eliseus

saw

on the

spot.

in spirit the act, as if

he had been present

The same prophet saw

what passed

also

in the council of the king of Syria, and revealed

the king of Israel, thereby frustrating the

devices of

So when the king of Syria saw that plans became known to his enemy, he complained the former.

his people, saying

' :

Why

do you not

tell

me to the king of Israel said, No one, my lord O king

that betrays

is

his servants

r

the prophet that all

words

the

in Israel, telleth the

is

that

thou

speakest

;

to

it

his

me who And one

to it

of

but Eliseus

king of Israel in

thy

privy

chamber.'t 15.

Both the one and the other kind of this knowledge

of events are granted to the soul passive, without effort

on

its part.

For

it

sometimes occurs that a person,

while not thinking at all of the matter, receives in spirit a vivid preception of what he hears or reads, and that

with greater distinctness than the words involve; and sometimes, too, even when he knows not the language to

which the words belong, the knowledge of the matter

is

conveyed

him without

to

the terms that imply 16.

As

and does

much is

to the delusions

is

able tc

effect,

with reference to this knowledge, I have Those delusions are very great and very

of detection

able to represent

soul,

which the devil

effect,

to say.

difficult

his being able to explain

it.

;

for the devil,

much

by way of suggestion,

knowledge to the by the use of the bodily senses, and is able to *

4 Kings

v. 26.

intellectual

t

Ib. vi.

u,

12.


THE ASCENT

214 establish that

and

II.

J

knowledge so firmly as to make it appear that soul be not humble and cautious, he

true

;

will

no doubt cause

if

[BOOK

it

to believe

an

For

infinity of lies.

the suggestions of the devil offer great violence to the soul at times, especially because the senses are

weak

;

and he plays on that weakness with such force, per suasiveness, and determination, that much prayer and repeated efforts become necessary on the part of the soul, in order to

He

17.

shake

is

off his influence.

wont occasionally

to reveal, falsely, but with

great distinctness, the sins of others, evil consciences,

and corrupt

souls,

induce him, to

with a view to detraction, and to

whom

the revelation

made, to publish the sins in question, so that other sins may be added to them. He stirs a false zeal, deluding him, in whom he stirs

into the belief that these revelations are intended

it,

to lead

is

him

traduces.

pray for the souls of those whom he thus is indeed true that God sometimes repre

to

It

sents to holy souls the necessities of their neighbours, that they

may pray

for

them, or relieve them.

He

revealed to Jeremias the weakness of Baruch, that he

might advise him therein.* But most frequently it is the devil that doeth this, and that falsely, in order that

may be accused of sin, and afflicted of this we have many proofs. At other times, he communicates persons

with

;

much certainty other kinds men to believe them.

of knowledge, and

induces 18.

God

All such knowledge as this, whether it comes from or not, can be but of little profit to the soul in the

jvay of perfection, if

trusts to

it "

Jerem. xlr.

it

:

yea, rather,

if it is


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XXVI.]

215

not careful to reject it, it will not only hinder it on its road, but will bring upon it great evil, and cause it to fall

into

many

delusions

;

for all the

dangers and incon

veniences of the supernatural apprehensions, and

more, are to be found here. enlarge further on this point

;

I

shall,

many

therefore,

not

seeing that I have already

given sufficient instruction on this matter, and shall say but this, that the penitent must be careful to reject this

knowledge, walking with God in the way of knowing nothing, and to give account to his director of it all, and abide constantly by his advice. 19.

Let the director guide his penitent quickly past this, suffer him to dwell upon it, because it is of no

and not

help to him on the road to the divine union.

For as

I

have said of those things which are passively wrought in the soul, the fruit which God wills, remains. I do not, therefore, think

it

requisite to describe the effects of this

knowledge, whether true or false, for my task in such a case would be wearisome and endless. The effects in question cannot be described within reasonable limits, for as the

The

true

llow

it is

knowledge

is

manifold, so are the effects of

it.

knowledge brings forth good issues, tending to good; and the false knowledge evil, tending to evil. When I say that this knowledge is to be rejected, and to be done, I

have said enough.


THE ASCENT

216

CHAPTER Of

[BOOK

II.

J

XXVII.

the second kind of revelations, the disclosure of secrets and

How

hidden mysteries.

Of

divine union.

the

they

many

may

subserve and hinder the

delusions of the devil incident

to them.

I

EXPLAINED the second kind of

revelations to be the

manifestation of secrets and hidden mysteries.

again

is

twofold.

One

relates to

God

This

Himself, and

Most Holy to God and relates the divine The second Trinity unity. in His operations, and includes all the other articles of includes the revelation of the mystery of the

the holy catholic faith, and the truths explicitly resulting therefrom.

a great number of prophetic

It includes also

revelations, promises, and threatenings of God, and other matters which have already been accomplished, and

which

We may also

shall hereafter occur.

second kind of revelations,

many

refer to this

other particular events

which God ordinarily reveals, as well concerning the world in general, as also concerning particular kingdoms, provinces,

states,

abundant evidence of

all this in

the

Holy

especially in the books of the prophets,

with revelations of 2.

But as

this

We

and persons.

families,

have

Scriptures,

where we meet

all kinds.

matter

is

perfectly plain

and

clear, I will

not spend my time in adducing the proofs but content myself with saying, that these revelations are not always ;

expressed in words, for divers ways. alone,

God makes them

Sometimes

?t

many and

He makes them by

and sometimes by signs alone,

and resemblances, and

in

words

figures, images, times Pther by both signs and


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxvii.]

words together

as

;

we

217

see in the prophets, particularly

Apocalypse, where we find not only the kinds of revelations here spoken of, but also the divers modes by in the

which they are made.

God

3.

still

He

kind.

in our

day makes revelations of the second some individuals how long they

reveals to

they have to endure, or what will befall such and such a person, such or such a kingdom. shall live,

what

trials

even with regard to the mysteries of our faith, He is wont to reveal the truths thereof by a special light and

And

meaning. This, however, is not properly a revelation, because the matter has been already .revealed, but rather a manifestation and explanation of 4.

I

it.

In those things, therefore, which we call revelations am not now using the word as relating to the revela

tion of the mysteries of the faith

the devil

may interfere

For as these revelations are generally expressed by words, figures, and similitudes, the devil may also imitate the same most easily. If, however, in

on a great

the

first

faith,

scale.

and second kind,

any new

no wise

in that

to give

heed to

it

;

from an angel from heaven. from heaven,' saith the apostle, that

anathema.' *

'

preach a gospel to you have received, let him be you new revelations are to be admitted in

which

No it,

contradictions, faith.

are in

we learned it Though we or an angel

the matter of that once made, beyond sistent with

we

no, not even if '

beside

which touches the

or different revelation be made,

lest

and

we should go stain the soul,

what may be con

astray

by admitting

which should keep the

We must bring the understanding into Galat. I

8.

captivity,


THE ASCENT and cleave '

Church,

No man The

and teaching of the * Paul, cometh by hearing.'

for faith,' saith S.

'

heed or credit easily to new reve

will give

he has a mind to be deceived. a view to deceive mankind, and

devil with

propagate delusions in the world, begins truth,

II.J

in simplicity to the faith

lations, unless 5.

[BOOK

and what

He

confidence.

be

by publishing

gain our resembles herein a cobbler, who with

is

likely to

true, in order to

the sharp bristle at the end of his thread penetrates the leather,

and then draws

after it the soft

and waxened

which never could have penetrated the leather by Great itself, without being preceded by the hard bristle. part,

necessary here for though true that the soul ran no risk of delusion, yet is is

circumspection

becoming that that

and

it

may

it

;

were

it

more

should not desire clear knowledge, so

preserve the merit of

and come

integrity,

it

its faith

in its purity

in this night of the

under

standing to the divine light of union 6. It is

of the utmost

moment for us, when a new

reve

lation is brought to us, to close the eyes of our under

standing, and rest on the

ancient prophecies.

The

Apostle himself, though he had seen the glories of Tabor, We have the more firm prophetical word, writes, whereunto you do weft to attend.' f Though the vision '

which we saw on the mount was certain

and more firm

on which you do well to 7.

If

it

be

the

is

rest

true, yet the

your

souls.

true, for these reasons, that

we ought

*

;

Roqj.

not to

new revelations on the subjecthow much more ought we also, not

regard with curiosity any

matter of the faith

more

word of revealed prophecy,

x. I?.

t *

S. Pet.

i.

19.


[CHAP, xxvii.]

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

219

to admit,

or heed, other revelations relating to other

matters

It is in these that the devil in

r

strong-, that I think

in

of them,

many

general

is

so

it

impossible to escape his delusions

if

we do

not strive to repel them

;

such appearance of truth and certainty does the devil throw around them. He unites together so many pro babilities, and all so consistently arranged, in order to gain credit, and roots them so firmly in the senses and the imagination, that the subject of them believes them without any hesitation whatever. He makes the soul trust to them so completely, that if it were not humble, it

could scarcely be persuaded of their falsehood and

disentangled from his delusions. 8.

For this cause,

therefore, the pure, simple, cautious,

and humble soul ought tions and other visions

and

to resist ,

for

it

reject these revela

not necessary to seek

is

them, yea rather it is necessary to reject them, if we are This is the meaning of to attain to the union of love.

Solomon when he

'

said,

What

things that are above him sary for

ways, to

'

?

*

needeth a

man

That

is

is, it

to seek

not neces

perfection, by supernatural and extraordinary seek supernatural things which are beyond our

reach. 9.

Having,

in the nineteenth

replied to the objections that

now

refer

the

and twentieth chapters,

may

be brought forward, I conclude the dis

reader thereto, and

cussion of revelations of this sort

:

it

being

sufficient to

have said that the soul ought to be very prudent in the matter, that it may walk in pureness, without illusions in the night of faith, to the divine union. *

Eccles.

vii.

i.


THE ASCENT

220

CHAPTER Of

[BOOK

II."]

XXVIII.

the interior locutions which occur supernaturally.

Their

different kinds.

IT

is

necessary for the reader to keep in mind continually

the end and object which I have in view direction of the soul, through all

its

namely, the

natural and super

natural apprehensions, without illusion or perplexity, in

pureness of faith to the divine union with God that he may perceive that I am not too concise; though I do not. enter into divisions

and subdivisions of the

while treating of the

apprehensions of the soul, as;

subject,

On the understanding might require. furnished sufficient think I have advice, in

perhaps, the

whole, I formation,

and warning,

prudent behaviour, in matters, to

why

I

make

all

to

enable

the

soul,

by a

these interior and exterior

progress onwards.

This

is

the reason

have so soon dismissed the subject of prophecy

like the rest,

having at the same time much to say of

each kind, according to their distinctive characteristics, which are so many that I should never accomplish my I am satisfied that I have said enough about them, task.

and that

have given the true doctrine and the requisite cautions with reference to them, and to every other I

matter of a like nature that 2. I shall

may

pass within the soul.

pursue the same course with the third kind

ol

apprehensions, the supernatural locutions of spiritual

men, which are effected without the instrumentality OT the bodily senses. These locutions, notwithstanding their variety,

may be comprised under three designations;


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

fCHAP. XXIX.] successive, formal,

words

mean

I

the mind,

and substantial words.

formal, I

By successive

words and considerations which

certain

self-recollected,

By

itself.

221

mean

forms and fashions within certain distinct

and

definite

words, which the mind receives not from itself but from a third person, sometimes while in a state of self-recol

and

lection, I

mean

at other times while not.

By

substantial,

other words which are also formally in the mind,

sometimes while

it is

recollected,

and sometimes while

it

These words produce an effect in the innermost and power of which they are the

is not.

soul that substance

I shall

expression.

speak of these in the order

I

have

named them.

CHAPTER XXIX. Of the

first

The

kind of words formed by the mind self-recollected

causes of them.

The advantages and disadvantages

of them.

AT all the

times when successive words take place,

mind

collected

is

and absorbed by some

it is

when

particular

subject; and while attentively considering the matter which occupies its thoughts, it proceeds from one part of it

words and reasonings together so the purpose, and with such facility and clearness

to another, puts

much

to

discovers

by

seems to

itself as if it

reflection things

it

was not

knew

not before, that

itself

which did

so,

it

but

some third person which addressed it^interiorly, reasoning, answering, and informing. And in truth there is good ground itself as

for

such a notion

one

man

;

the

mind then reasons with

does with another, and to a certain


THE ASCENT

222

[BOOK

II.]

For though it be the mind itself that thus reasons, yet the Holy Ghost very often assists it in the formation of these conceptions, words, and reasonings. extent

it is

so.

Thus the mind addresses

some

itself to itself as if to

other person. 2.

For as the understanding

is

then united, and intently

occupied, with the truth of that whereof as the

Holy

Spirit is also united with

standing in this

it it

thinks, ;

the under

communion with the Divine

through the channel

of that particular

and

Spirit,

truth,

forms

successively within itself those other truths which relate to the matter before

it

;

the

Holy Ghost, the Teacher,

way and giving light. This is one way in which the Holy Ghost teaches us. The understanding, being thus enlightened and instructed by the great opening the

Teacher, while perceiving these truths, forms at the same time the words in question about those truths which it

*

the saying of Isaac,

Jacob is

We

receives from another source.

;

The

apply to this

voice, indeed, is the voice of

but the hands are the hands of Esau.'

in this state cannot believe that the

sions do not proceed from

how

may

*

He who

words and expres

some third person, not knowing

easily the understanding can form

conceptions and truths which

it

words about

derives from another

person. 3.

this

Now, though

it is

true that there can be no illusion in

communication, and in the enlightenment of the

still illusions may, and do, frequently understanding occur in the formal words and reasonings which the ;

understanding forms about them. *

Inasmuch as the

Genes, xxvii. 22.

light


L

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

CHAP. XXIX.]

then bestowed that

it is

most

is

subtile

and

223

spiritual, so

much

so

beyond the capacity of the understanding, the

result is that the

understanding in

its

own

strength forms

these reasonings which in consequence are often false,

apparently true, or imperfect.

When

a

man

of a true principle and then deals with

has the clue

it

by

his

own

ignorance of his weak understanding, it is an easy thing for such an one to fall into delusions, and that too, in this way, as if a third person were abilities, or in the

addressing him.

have known one who had these

I

successive locutions, but who, on the subject of the

Most

Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, amid some most had others full of error.

true,

4. I

am terrified by what passes among us in these days.

Anyone, who has barely begun to meditate, if he becomes conscious of these locutions during his selfpronounces them forthwith to be the work of God, and, considering them to be so, says, God has

recollection,

spoken to me,

But

it is

not true

to himself.

I

or,

have had

an answer from God.

such an one has been only speaking

:

Besides, the affection and desire for these

locutions, which men encourage, cause them to reply to themselves, and then to imagine that God has spoken.

The consequence

is

that they

fall

into great disorders,

if

they do not restrain themselves, and if their spiritual director does not command them to abstain from these interior discourses

;

for the fruit of

them

is

foolishness

and impureness of soul, and not the spirit of humility and mortification. They think that these locutions are great things, that God has been speaking to them, when in truth all

was

little

more than nothing, or nothing,

or


THE ASCENT

224 less

For what

than nothing.

is

[BOOK

II.

]

that worth which does

not beget humility and charity, mortification, and holy

and

simplicity

silence

?

These locutions,

may

then,

prove a great hindrance to the divine union, because they lead astray the soul, that thinks much of them,

from the abyss of faith, where the understanding ought to abide in obscurity, and in obscurity advance by faith

and not by much reasoning 5 You will object, and say, Why must the understand

in love,

ing deny

itself in it

enlightens

these truths, seeing that the Spirit of God

in them,

and that they cannot

reason proceed from the evil one

for that

I answer, the

?

Holy

Ghost enlightens the recollected understanding, and in proportion to its recollection and, as there can be no ;

greater recollection of the understanding than in faith,

Holy Ghost will not enlighten it in any other way more than in that of faith. For the more pure and clean the

the soul in the perfection of a living faith the greater

is

the infusion of charity, and the greater the charity the greater the illumination, and the more abundant the

Though

graces

it

be true that

some

in this illumination

light is given to the soul, yet the light of faith, wherein

nothing

is

clearly seen, is in kind as different from

refined gold from base metal,

and

exceeds a drop of water.

In

ceives the

Wisdom

of

God

as

in quantity as the sea

one way the soul re ;

but

is

His

knowledge of one, two, or three truths

in the other the

it

generally, which

Son, in one simple universal knowledge communicated to the soul by faith. 6- If,

again, you object and say that this

and that

it

hinders not the other

;

my

is all

answer

is,

good, that

it


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XKTX.J hinders very for

by

much

if

the soul

225

makes any account of

;

doing so the soul occupies itself with evident

matters and of

little

moment, which hinder the com

munication of the abyss of

wherein God super-

faith,

naturally and secretly teaches the soul, and trains in a

it

way

it

knows

not, in virtues

and

in graces.

it

up,

We

by these successive locutions if we contemplate them with the understanding,

shall never profit

deliberately

this we shall lose all the good of them, as it Turn written, away thy eyes from me, for they have made me flee away.'* We must therefore, simply and for if

we do '

is

sincerely, without

applying the understanding to the matter of these supernatural communications, direct the

will lovingly to

God, because

it

is

blessings are bestowed, and that in

than before.

by love that these greater abundance

powers of the understanding, or of our be actively applied to these things which

If the

other faculties,

are supernaturally and passively received,

we

shall find

that our incapacity and ignorance will not reach them. They will therefore be modified and changed, and so we shall of necessity incur the hazard of delusions while

forming these reasonings within ourselves. This will be neither supernatural itself, nor in any respect resemble

it,

but

it

will

be something most natural and

common. 7.

There are some men

quick and penetrating that

whose understanding their conceptions,

is

so

when they

are self-recollected, naturally proceed with great facility,

and form themselves so clearly as to

into these locutions

make them think Cant.

vi.

4.

that

and reasonings

God

is

speaking.


THE ASCENT

226

But

is

it

not

so.

All this

is

the

[BOOK

II.

j

work of the under

standing, somewhat disengaged from the operations of sense for it may do this and even more without any ;

supernatural help whatever, by

This

its

own

natural light

a state of things of frequent occurrence, and delude themselves into the belief that they have many acquired the gift of prayer, and that God converses with is

them

they write down, or cause others to write for what them, they have experienced. And after all it is nothing without the substance of virtue, and serving to ;

:

no other end than

to minister food to vanity.

Let such persons learn to disregard these locutions,

8.

ground the will in humble love let them practise good works, and suffer patiently, imitating the Son of God, and mortifying themselves in all things this, and

and

to

;

:

not the abundance of interior discourses,

is

the road unto

spiritual good.

These

9.

interior successive locutions furnish occasions

when persons have an inclina For when they begin to them.

to the evil spirit, especially tion or affection for

recollect themselves, the devil offers to for

discursive

reflections,

suggesting

expressions to the understanding;

them materials thoughts

and

and then, having

deceived them by things that appear to be true, casts them down to the ground. Such is his dealing with those,

who have

or expressed.

entered into a compact with him, tacit

Thus he converses with some

heretics,

he informs their under especially with heresiarchs standing with most subtle thoughts and reasonings, ;

false,

however, and erroneous.

10. It

appears, then, that these successive words

may


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxix.]

227

proceed from three sources from the Holy Spirit, moving and enlightening from the natural light of the under :

;

standing and from the evil spirit suggesting. It will be rather a difficult matter to describe the signs and ;

by which

tokens,

it

may be known from which

of these

some general loves, and at the

sources particular locutions proceed, but

notions

may be

same time it

love,

is

When

given.

the soul

humbly and reverently conscious of that a sign that these locutions come from the is

Holy Ghost, Who, whenever He grants us these graces, grants them through love. When they come from the vivacity

which

and

affects

light of the understanding only,

them without any operation of

though the will

may

that

it is

virtue

love naturally in the knowledge and

light of those truths

and,

when

the meditation

is

over,

the will remains cold, though not inclined to vanity or evil,

unless the devil shall have tempted us anew.

locutions of the

when they

Holy Ghost cannot issue in

are over, the will

is

this,

The for

usually affectionately dis^

posed towards God, and inclined to good, though some times, certainly, the will may be dry, even after the

communications of the Holy

Spirit,

for the profit of particular souls.

God thus At other

ordering

it

times, too,

the soul will not be very sensible of the operations or

motions of these virtues, and yet what passes within will have been good. This is why I have said that it is

sometimes

difficult

to

because of the various have.

The

effects

I

distinguish

one from

common, though sometimes more, and abundant.

another,

which they sometimes have mentioned are the most effects

sometimes less


THE ASCENT

228

The

11.

evil locutions

[BOOK

II.]

are occasionally hard to dis

tinguish, for, though they dry up the love of God in the will,

and

incline

men

to vanity, self-esteem, or

complacency still they beget at times a certain false humility and fervent affection of the will founded on self-love, which requires for its detection great spirituality

:

of mind.

This the

devil brings about, the better to conceal his presence.

He

perfectly well to produce tears by the he impressions makes, and he does so that he may inspire the soul with those affections, which he desires to is

excite.

able

But he always labours

to

move

the will so that

men shall esteem these interior communications, and make much account of them, in order to induce them to give themselves up to them, and occupy themselves with what is not virtue, but rather an occasion of losing what virtue they 12.

Let

may

have.

abide by this necessary caution, perplexity and delusions never to

us, therefore,

in order to escape all

make any account source they

may

courageously to

;

of these locutions, from whatever

how

come, but learn

God

to direct our will

in the perfect fulfilment of

and holy counsels, which

is

wisdom

the

His law

of the saints,

content with the knowledge of those truths and mysteries, in

simplicity

and

sincerity, as

the Church sets them

forth, for these are sufficient to inflame

our will

;

without

thrusting ourselves into deep and curious investigations, It was with where the absence of danger is a miracle. reference to this that St. Paul exhorts us not to be more '

wise than

it

behoveth to be wise.'*

the subject of successive words. *

Rom.

xii.

3.

Let this

suffice

on


[CHAP, xxx.]

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

229

CHAPTER XXX. Of

words formally wrought the dangers incident thereto ;

interior

Of

in a supernatural way.

and a

necessary

caution

against delusions.

THE

second, kind of interior locutions are formal words,

uttered in the

mind sometimes

supernaturally, without the intervention of the senses, whether in a state of recollection or not.

call these

I

formal words, because

the mind formally perceives they are spoken by a third For this person, independently of its own operations.

reason they are very different from those of which I have just spoken. They differ from them, not only because

they take place without any effort of the mind, but some times even when the mind is not recollected, and far

from thinking of what

is

uttered within

it.

This

is

not

so in the case of successive words, for these always

which then occupies the mind, The locutions of which I am now speaking are sometimes relate to the matter

perfectly formed, sometimes not, being very often, as

it

were, conceptions, by which something is said, at one time in the way of an answer, at another by another mode of

speaking.

Sometimes

it is

one word, at another two or

more, and occasionally successive words, as in the former case for they continue in the way of instruction to the :

soul,

or of

discussion with

it.

Still

all

takes place

without the active participation of the mind, for if

another person were then speaking, as

Daniel, spoke.

we

it is

as

read in

who says that an angel instructed him and This was formal successive reasoning and in-


THE ASCENT

230 struction

'

the angel says,

:

I

[BOOK

am now come

forth

II.]

to

teach thee.'*

When

2.

effect

these locutions are no

on the mind

They

are in general

and enlighten us on a particular

sent only to instruct

and

not great.

is

more than formal, the

not necessary for this purpose, that they should have another effect different from that, for

subject

;

which they are God, they it it

is

it

And

sent.

so

whenever they come from

effect their object in the soul

;

for they render

ready to accomplish what is commanded, and enlighten so that it understands what it hears. They do not

always remove the repugnance which the soul

and

rather increase

it

end of which

the

and

is

;

this is the operation of

more

feels,

but

God, the

perfect instruction, humiliation,

This repugnance is in general and noble deeds are commanded great greater promptitude and facility, when vile

profit of the soul.

the result,

and there

when is

;

and humiliating things are enjoined.

was commanded people of Israel, task, that

God was

and show him until

Thus when Moses

go unto Pharao, and deliver the he felt so great a repugnance for his to

obliged to

signs.

command him

And after all, this was

God gave him Aaron,

three times,

not sufficient

as his partner in the work,

and a partaker of his dignity. 3.

On the other hand, \\hen these locutions are

undertaken, but humble

evil spirit, great things are readily

occupations become repugnant. inclined to greatness

and honour

and when

from the

;

He

God hates to see men for when He bids them

bestows them Himself, accept dignities, He wills not that they should be accepted with readiness *

Dan

ix.

&.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XXX.]

and willingness. Formal words

differ,

231

as to that readiness

which God communicates, from the other successive words these do not influence the mind so much, neither do they communicate to it so much readiness that is an :

;

by reason of their greater formality, and because the understanding has less to do with them.

effect of the former,

does not prevent successive locutions from having occasionally a greater influence, because of the great intercourse, that takes place at times, between the Still this

human ence

spirit

But there is a great differ In the formal locutions the soul

and the

divine.

manner.

in the

has no doubt about them, whether they come from itself or not especially when it was not thinking of the subject to

which they

pies

its

relate

thoughts,

it

;

and even when that subject occu most clearly and distinctly, that

sees

the locutions proceed from another. 4.

We must

not

make much

of these formal locutions

any more than of the successive. For over and above the occupation of the mind with that, which is not the legitimate

namely

and proximate means of union with God,

faith,

there

is

also

the

too

certain risk of

We

diabolical delusions. can scarcely distinguish at times what locutions come from a good, and what from an evil, spirit. And as the effects of them are not great

we can hardly

distinguish

them by that

test

;'

for

some

times the diabolic locutions have a more sensible influ

ence on the imperfect, than the divine locutions on

We must, also, not obey them at whether come from a good or evil spirit. But once, they we must not neglect to manifest them to a prudent con spiritual persons.

fessor, or to

some

discreet

and learned person, who

shall


THE ASCENT

232

[BOOK

we ought to do and we must be resigned and

teach us, and decide for us, what

when we have had

his decision,

indifferent in the matter.

a

man

of experience,

it

rest,

is

better in that case, accepting

what

to reveal the matter to

find persons

who

;

If we cannot find such a person,

the substance of them, and

and

II.]

to disregard the

is safe,

no one

easy to destroy souls instead of edifying them. ;

for

it is

not everyone who is fitted for the direction of souls, being a matter of the last importance to give right or

It is it

wrong advice 5.

in so serious

Remember,

too, that

an

affair as that.

we must never do

own

of our

head, or accept, anything told us in these locutions, with out great deliberation and reflection. So subtle and so singular are the illusions incidental to them that, in

my

opinion, no soul, who does not deal with them, as with an enemy, can possibly escape delusions in a greater, or less degree, in

many of them. Having in the seventeenth,

and twentieth chapters of this book, deliberately discussed these illusions and dangers, and the cautions to be observed, I shall not enlarge upon

,

eighteenth,

nineteenth,

them

I content

myself with saying, that the real and secure teaching on the subject is, not to give heed to here.

them, however plausible they in all

may

be, but to

be governed

by reason, and by what the Church has taught and

teacnes us every day.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxxi.]

233

CHAPTER XXXI. Of

the interior substantial locutions

and the formal.

them

the difference between

:

The

profitableness of them.

and reverence of the soul

tion

THE

The

in respect of

resigna

them.

third kind of interior locutions are the substantial

words.

Though

these are also formal, inasmuch as they

are formally impressed on the soul, they differ from in this

;

them

the substantial locutions produce a vivid and

substantial effect in the soul, while those locutions

are only formal do not, though substantial locution

is

it

which

be true that every

also formal, yet every formal

but only that which really Thus, if our impresses on the soul what it signifies. Lord were to say formally to a particular soul, Be thou locution

is

not substantial

;

that soul would immediately be good.

good

;

thou

Me

that soul would at once have

;

the substance of love, that

and

Love

Or,

feel in itself

a true love of God.

is,

Or,

He

were to say to a timid soul, Be not afraid again, that soul would on the instant become courageous and if

calm.

For

;

'

The Word

of power.'*

full

of

God

'

saith the wise

man, the locution what meaneth Thus,

substantially accomplished in the soul.

meaning of those words

of

David

voice the voice of power.' f

' :

He

This

He

is

is

the

is

His

will give to

Thus, also, dealt

*

with

Abraham, when He said unto him, 'Walk before Me, and be perfect.' + Abraham was then perfect, and ever walked reverently before God. 2.

He

This

is

the power of His word in the gospel, by which

healed the sick and raised the dead, by a word only. *

Eccles.

viii.

4.

t PS.

Ixvii.

34.

J Genes,

xvii, i.


THE ASCENT

234

[BOOK

II.]

Such, too, are His substantial locutions; they are of

such price and moment, as to be the

and strength

life

and the incomparable good of souls for one locution of, God does for the soul far more at once, than that soul ;

has done for

The

itself in its

whole past

life.

not called upon to do or attempt any thing with regard to these locutions, but to be resigned and humble. It is not called upon to undervalue or fear 3.

soul

is

them, nor to labour in doing what they enjoined

God by means

of these substantial locutions works in

and by the soul Himself. the formal and successive

And

substantially in the soul,

and

fore the action of the soul

them

herein they differ from

locutions.

reject these locutions, for the

received

For

it.

soul need not

ot

them remains

effect

full is

The

of blessing

and there

;

useless, because

it

has

Neither need the soul be

passively.

afraid of illusions here, for these locutions are

the reach of the understanding or the evil

beyond

spirit.

The

devil cannot passively produce this substantial effect in

any soul whatever, so as and habit of his locution

to impress ;

upon

it

the effect

though he may, by his sug whom he dwells as their

gestions, lead those souls in lord, in virtue of their

voluntary compact with him, to

perform deeds of exceeding malignity. For he is able to influence them easily, because they are united to him

We

voluntarily in the bonds of iniquity. perience, that even

good men

suffer violence

suggestions, which are exceeding strong are

evilly

disposed,

his

see,

suggestions

;

then

by ex

from his

but

if

are

men more

efficacious. 4.

But the

devil ca.nnot produce

any

effects

resembling


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxxii.]

235

no comparison possible between his locutions and those of God. All his are as if they were not, in the presence of the divine, those of the divine locutions, for there

and

the prophet .

.

is

the

?

:

Are not

effects of

meaning of those words of What hath the chaff to do with the wheat This

God's locutions.

.

compared with the

their effects as nothing

'

is

My

words as a

fire,

breaketh the rock in pieces

'

and as a hammer that

*

Thus the

?

substantial

locutions conduce greatly to the union of the soul with

God; and the more interior they are, the more sub and the more profitable. Blessed then

stantial are they

that soul to which

is

Lord, for

Thy

God sends His

locutions

' :

Speak

servant heareth.' f

CHAPTER XXXII. Of

intellectual

apprehensions resulting from the interior impres The sources of them. The

sions supernaturally effected.

conduct to be observed by the soul, so that these appre hensions shall not hinder it on the way of union.

IT remains for

me now

frequently

to discuss the fourth

which those

of apprehensions, effected

supernaturally

kind

last

impressions,

spiritual

in

and

men,

spiritual

Those impressions I produce in the understanding. have reckoned among the distinct apprehensions of the understanding + 2.

There are two kinds of these distinct

The

pressions.

the is

second,

most

first

is

though also

intense, xxiii.

38, 29.

f

in

I

im

in the affection of the will,

the

Kings

iii.

yet because

will,

profound,

high,

*

Jerew.

kind

spiritual

IQ.

and

secret,

J Bk.

ii.

c.

it

seems IQ,


236

TPIE

ASCENT

[BOOK

II.]

but to have been wrought in the very substance of the soul. Both the one and the not to touch the

will,

The

other are extremely diversified. is

God, profit

very high

;

but the second

why God

its

the highest, of great

But neither the soul that receives

and advantage.

them, nor

is

when from

first,

can ever

director,

know

their sources, or

them they do not depend in any way or meditation, though these dispose works upon good us for them. God sends them to whom, and why, He effects

;

wills. 3.

will

Sometimes a person who has done many good works never have these touches, and another of less merit,

have them most profoundly and most abundantly. is not necessary, therefore, for the soul to be actually

will It

occupied with spiritual things though that is the better in order to be the object of the divine touches, of state

which these impressions are the occur

when

the soul

is

result, for

heedless of them.

touches are distinct, and pass rapidly so,

they frequently Some of these

away

;

others less

but of longer continuance.

These impressions so far as they come under this description of them do not appertain to the under 4.

standing, but to the will.

I shall, therefore, not discuss

them now, but reserve them or purgation of the will in

the third book.

As

on the night, which will form

for the treatise

its affections,

in general,

and even very

frequently,

a more express and perceptible apprehension, know ledge, and intelligence, flow from these impressions into the understanding,

it is

necessary to mention

it

here for

that purpose only. 5.

We

must, therefore, remember that, from

all

these


[CHAP. XXXII.]

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

237

impressions, whether the divine touches which cause

them, be rapid, or continuous and successive, there flows frequently into the understanding the apprehension of

which is usually a most knowledge or intelligence profound and sweet sense of God, to which, as well as to the impression from which it flows, no name can be ;

This knowledge comes, sometimes in one way, sometimes in another, now most deep and clear, again given.

less so,

according to the nature of the divine touches,

which occasion the impressions, and according to the nature of the impressions, of which it is the result. 6.

It is

not necessary to waste words here in cautioning

and directing the understanding, amid this knowledge, in faith to the divine union. For as these impressions are passively wrought in the

operation on results

its

part

from them,

is

;

soul,

so also the

without any co

knowledge which

passively received in the under

philosophers apply the term passible to the understanding independently of its own exertions. In

standing

order, therefore, to escape delusions here,

and not

to

hinder the benefits of these impressions, the under standing ought not to meddle with them, but remain passive, inclining the will to consent freely fully,

and not interfering

itself.

and grate

For, as in the case of

successive locutions, the activity of the understanding

can very easily disturb and destroy this delicate know ledge, which is a sweet supernatural intelligence, which no natural faculty can reach or comprehend otherwise than by the agent.

No

way

and never by that of should be made, lest the

of recipient,

effort, therefore,

understanding should fashion something of

itself,

and


TITE

the devil at the

ASCENT

same time

[BOOK

an entrance into the

effect

He

and strange knowledge.

soul with false

II.]

is

well

able to do this, through the channel of these impres

Let sions, by taking advantage of the bodily se.ises. the soul be resigned, humble, and passive, for as it

God this knowledge so will He His own good pleasure, when He

receives passively from

communicate sees

it

it,

of

;

humble and detached.

put no obstacles

knowledge

in the

way

for the divine

By

union

:

and

that profitableness

All these touches are touches of union, which

is

great.

is

passively effected in the soul. 7.

so living, the soul will

of the profitableness of this

The whole teaching

of this book on the subject of

and passive contemplation, whereby we abandon ourselves into the hands of God in the forget-

total abstraction

fulness of all created things, in detachment from images

and

figures,

and dwelling on the supreme truth

contemplation

is

applicable, not only

in

pure

to the act of

most perfect contemplation the profound and altogether the supernatural repose of which is disturbed by *

daughters of Jerusalem,'* namely, good meditations and reflections, if we then attempt them but also to the

whole of that time, in which our Lord communicates the simple, general, and loving attention, of which I have

made mention grace,

is

before,

or

when

the soul, assisted

established in that state.

by must For then we

contrive to have the understanding in repose, undisturbed

by the intrusion of forms, figures, or particular know ledge, unless it were slightly and for an instant, and that *

Cant.

iii.

Love, stanza

5.

3,

See Spiritual Canticle, stanza 29, Introd., and Flame of xi.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxxii.] \vith

At

239

sweetness of love, to enkindle our souls the more.

other times, however, in

all

our acts of devotion and

we must make use of good recollections and meditations, so that we may feel an increase of of good works,

profit

and devotion

;

most especially applying ourselves

life, passion, and death of Jesus Christ our Lord, that our life and conduct may be an imitation of His.

to the

8.

Let this

supernatural apprehensions of

suffice for the

the understanding, so far as the guiding thereof, through

them, in

faith, to

the divine union,

concerned.

is

I think

have said enough on the subject for the instructions and cautions already given will be found ample with I

:

that may occur in the understanding. And should be met with of a different nature anything and not comprised in the distinctions laid down

regard to

all

if

though I do not imagine that there can be anything which cannot be referred to one of the four kinds of

what

distinct

knowledge resemble them will 9. I

I

have said of those that

suffice.

now proceed to

the third

book

;

where, by the help

of God, I shall speak of the interior spiritual purgation of the will from active night. to consider for

when

its

interior

affections.

This

what

I write

these qualities

in

simplicity

the

are wanting,

and candour

will this

be the case

because of the deficiencies of

:

however perfect

and profound the teaching may be, he will not by it, neither will he value it as it deserves.

much more

is

I therefore entreat the discerning reader

profit

And

in the present instance,

my way

of writing.


THE ASCENT

240

BOOK

r

BOOK

III.

THE PURGATION AND ACTIVE NIGHT OF THE MEM OK Y AND THE WILL.

ARGUMENT. The soul,

understanding", which

now

being

is

the

instructed, with regard to all its appre

hensions, in the

first

theological virtue,

that the soul, according to this power,

God

power of the

first

in pureness of faith

same with respect

;

namely

may

remains for

it

faith,

so

be united to

me now

to

do

two other powers, memory will, showing how they too are to be purified in all their acts, so that the soul, according to them also, may

the

to the

and

be united to God in perfect hope and charity. I shall do this briefly in this third book. For having concluded that which relates to the understanding, the receptacle of

all

objects that pass through the

memory and

and that goes a great way towards the of

my

it

purpose

execution

is not so necessary to enlarge

on the

two powers because, in general, the man who shall have \vell directed his under

subject of these spiritual

full

the will

standing in

faith,

;

according to

the way, have done as will in the

much

my

teaching, will also,

for the

matter of hope and charity

:

by the and memory

for the operations

of these virtues are mutually dependent the one on the other.

same

But, as order,

it is

necessary

that I

may

and be the better understood

observe the to

speak of


[CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

I.]

241

the proper and determinate matter, I shall treat of the acts of each of these

them according distinction objects,

and

two

to the

faculties, distinguishing

method of

my

between their

three, natural, supernatural imaginary,

The knowledge

spiritual.

these distinctions,

imaginary, and

Tha*

subject.

arises out of the distinction

which are

between

is

of the

also threefold

:

memory, following

natural, supernatural

I shall treat of these here,

spiritual.

by the grace of God, beginning with natural knowledge, which

is

I shall

conversant with the most exterior objects

and then conclude is

and

;

afterwards speak of the affections of the will, this third book, the subject of

which

the active spiritual night.

CHAPTER

I.

Of the natural apprehensions of the memory emptied of them, that the

may be is

:

which

is

to

be

soul,- according to that faculty,

united with God.

necessary to keep in mind the 3pecial object of of these books for otherwise the reader will

IT each

;

be perplexed by what he reads, as he may have been by what I said about the understanding, and as he may be

now by what

say of the memory, and what I have to say hereafter of the will. For when he observes, that I teach the annihilation of these powers in the matter of I

their operations

;

he will perhaps imagine, that

I

am

destroying, and not building up, the spiritual edifice. This objection would be valid, if my purpose here was to instruct only beginners,

means

who

of these discursive

are to be led onwards by and tangible apprenensions.


THE ASCENT

242

[BOOK

HI.]

am

teaching how to advance by contemplation to the divine union for which end all these means, and

But as

I

the sensible exertion of the powers of the soul must

God

cease and be silent, in order that

may

bring that union to pass

in

His own way

necessary to release

it is

empty them, and to make them renounce their natural jurisdiction and operations, in

the faculties and to

order that the supernatural

may fill and

enlighten them

;

seeing that their powers cannot compass so great a matter, but rather, unless suppressed, prove a difficulty in the

way.

And

as

it is

God, rather by what

most true that the soul knoweth

He

is

follows of necessity that

not, if

He

than by what

we

is

;

it

are to draw near unto

must be by denying and renouncing to the utter Him, most all that may be denied, of our apprehensions, it

We

natural and supernatural alike.

apply

this process to the

of

natural position and raising

its

above

all

distinct

memory

it

therefore,

shall,

driving

:

above

it

away

itself,

that

out is,

knowledge and conscious compre

hension, to the highest hope of

God

Who

is

incompre

hensible. 2. I

begin with natural knowledge.

The natural know

ledge of the memory is all that knowledge it can form about the objects of the five bodily senses hearing, :

seeing, smelling, tasting and touching, and all else of the like kind. The memory must be stripped and emptied

of all this

knowledge and of these forms it must labour no impression what ;

to destroy all sense of them, so that

must forget them,

ever of them shall be

left

and withdraw

from them, and that as completely into it. Nothing less than

is

if

itself

behind

they had never entered

;

it


[CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

I.]

the annihilation of the serve, if

to all these forms will

For that union can

be united with God.

to

it is

memory as

243

never take place without a total separation from these forms which are not God, for God is without form neither ;

is

I

He

the object of any distinct knowledge whatever, as

have said while treating of the night of the under

standing.*

'No man,'

3.

masters/f so the

our Redeemer, 'can serve two

saith

memory cannot be

perfectly united with

God, and at the same time with forms and distinct ledge.

know

And as God is without form or image, on which the

memory may dwell, so when the memory is united with God as we see by daily experience it remains without form or itself

with the imagination suppressed, and

figure,

absorbed in supreme

felicity, in

The

profound oblivion,

divine union expels every

remembering nothing. fancy, and shuts out all forms and knowledge it raises the memory to that which is supernatural, leaving it in ;

such deep forgetfulness that if it

will

it

remember anything

this forgetfulness of the

must do violence to

at all.

Such

itself,

at times is

memory, and suspension of the

imaginative powers, because of the union of the memory with God, that time passes by unheeded, and what took When the place in the interval cannot be known.

imaginative powers are held in suspense, there of pain even

when pain

tion there is

no sense, not even If

exists not.

God

memory must be which

it is

*

Q2

is

ii.

to bring

severed from

capable.

Bk.

is inflicted

Ch.

viii.

But

it is

is

no sense

for without

;

in

imagina because it thought,

about this perfect union, all

to

acts of

knowledge

of

be observed, that this t

St. Matt. vi. 24.


THE ASCENT

244

[BOOK

suspension never occurs thus in those

who

ITT.]

are perfect,

because they have attained already to the perfect union,

and

this suspension relates to the

commencement

of that

state.

You

All this is very will, perhaps, object and say but the involves the destruction of the well, principle natural use and course of our faculties, and reduces man to 4.

:

the level of a brute beast, forgetful of all things, and what is

worse, without reflection or recollection of his natural

Surely God does not destroy but its destruction is the nature, but rather perfects it

wants and functions.

;

natural issue of this doctrine, for

and

rational motives,

and

all

man

forgets all moral

natural acts

he remembers

;

nothing, because he regards not the forms and knowledge in question,

which are means of remembering.

5.

To

this I reply: the

God

the

more it loses

more 'the memory is united to all distinct knowledge, and at last all

such fades utterly away, when the state of perfection is reached. In the beginning, when this is going on, great forgetfulness ensues, for these forms

and knowledge

fall

men

into oblivion, neglect themselves in outward things, forgetting to eat or drink they do not remember whether ;

they have done or left undone a particular work, whether they have seen sucL things or not, or whether such and

and all this such things have been mentioned to them But he who has because the memory is lost in God. ;

attained to the habit of union does not forget, in this way, that which relates to moral

and natural reason

;

he per

necessary and and befitting actions, though by the ministry of forms

forms in

much

knowledge,

greater perfection

in the

memory, supplied

all

in a special

manner


[CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

I.]

In the state of union, which

by God.

memory and

state, the

245 is

the other faculties

a supernatural fail

as to their

natural functions, and rise beyond their natural objects

upwards unto God, 6.

And

Who

thus, then,

is

supernatural.

when the memory

is

transformed in

God, no permanent forms or knowledge can be impressed

upon

it

;

the operations of the memory, therefore, and ol

the other powers in this state are, as

God has

self divinely

He who

were, divine;

entered into possession, by this transformation,

as their alsolute Lord

*

it

is

guides and governs them

;

by His own

and

spirit

joined to the

Lord

is

one

will, as it is written, '* and there spirit ;

fore the operations of the soul in the state of

the operations of the

Him

union are

Holy Ghost, and, consequently,

divine.

Now, the actions of such souls only are what they ought to be, and reasonable, and not what they ought 7.

not to be

:

because under the influence of the Holy Ghost

know what they ought

know, are ignorant ot be ignorant, remember what they ought to remember, forget what they ought to forget, love what they ought to love, and love not that which is not they

what they ought

God.

Thus

to

in general the first

of these souls are, as

wonderful in

to

this,

motions of the faculties

were, divine.

it

There

is

nothing

seeing that they are transformed in

the divine nature. 8. I will

explain

my meaning

by the following

A

illustra

person in the state of union is requested to Now he will never re a certain individual. pray for member to do what is asked of him, by reason of any-

tion.

*

i

Cor.

vi.

17.


THE ASCENT

246

thing whatever remaining in his right so to pray

which

it

will

[BOOK

memory

;

but

III.]

if it

be

be when God shall be

pleased to hear that prayer God will then move the will and excite a desire to pray. On the other hand, if

be not the will of God to hear that prayer let that person do what he may, he will never pray as he was it

:

requested, neither will he have

Sometimes God

knew

never

He

make him pray

will

or heard

of.

God

cular influence of

any desire

This

is

do

to

for others,

whom

so.

he

the effect of a parti

exerted over these souls,

whom

directs to perform certain actions according to the

disposition of

His

will.

The

actions

and the prayers

of

such souls always attain their end.

So

9.

was with the

glorious

Mother of God.

Perfect

there

was no impression of created things

soul, to turn

her aside from God, or in any way to movement ever proceeded

from the

on her

it

first,

influence her; for her every

from the Holy Ghost. 10.

Again.

A perfect man has at a given time a certain

indispensable business to transact. tion whatever of it but in some :

will,

He

has no recollec

way he knows

not,

it

present itself to his mind, through that stirring of his

memory

of which I speak, at the time and in the

way

it

ought, and that without fail. It is not only in these matters that the Holy Ghost enlightens the soul, but in

many others, present, future, and distant men knowing not how the knowledge thereof comes to them. But it comes from the divine wisdom, because they exercise themselves in knowing or apprehending nothing, which can obstruct their course.

It

comes

to

them

in general,

as I said in the beginning, while speaking of the Mount,


[CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

I.]

so that they do all things

which

the worker of

is

You

11.

as

;

is

it

247

taught me.'

all things,

'

written,

Wisdom,

*

that the soul cannot so

will say, perhaps,

empty and deprive the memory of all forms and fantasies, for there are two things to be

as to reach a state so high

;

done which are beyond the forces and namely, to cast what

and, in truth, impossible for indeed, must raise

it

up

the soul, so far as

it

can,

tions,

may

it

And

supplies.

so

itself of

empties

them,

which

the most

is

difficult,

into this supernatural state

must also be

by

in

;

but

good disposi

the help which

God

the soul rejects these forms and

God

causes

to enter into the

it

When God

enjoyment of this union. is

;

mere natural strength. God,

acquire

when

man

natural aside, and touch, and

is

unite with, the supernatural,

which

abilities of

does

this,

the soul

passive, as I shall explain in speaking of the passive

night

and

;

He

perfect union,

when

it

shall

will then

bestow upon

proportional

seem

to

to

its

Him good

it

the habit of

good dispositions, do so. I do not

to

effects of the perfect union, as

speak of the divine

they understanding on the one hand, to the memory and the will on the other, in connection with this night and active purgation, for the divine union is relate to the

not here complete

but

;

the passive night,f in 12. I

I will

do so in connection with

which the soul

enter actively

spiritual

treasure *

united with God.

speak here only of the necessary means of purify

ing the memory, so that, so far as

may

is

upon

man must up

this night

vii.

21.

concerned,

and purgation.

observe this precaution

or retain in the

WisJ.

itself is

:

memory anything he t Dark Night, Bk.

ii.

it

The

never to

may see,

ch. xxi.


THE ASCENT

948

hear, taste, touch, or smell

;

but to

[BOOK let

III.]

them pass away,

forgetting them, and never reflecting upon them, unless when it may be necessary to do so in order to a good

But

.meditation.

extended to 13.

this deliberate forgetfulness,

and

rejec

knowledge and of forms, must never be Christ and His Sacred Humanity.*

tion of all

Sometimes, indeed, in the height of contemplation

and pure intuition of the divinity, the soul does not remember the Sacred Humanity, because God raises the

mind

to this, as

knowledge no means

were, confused and most supernatural

it

but for

;

all this,

studiously to forget

it is

by

right, for the

contemplation of the Sacred and meditation upon it, will help us up loving Humanity to all good, and it is by It we shall ascend most easily to

the highest state of union. 14. It is evident at

once

that,

while

all visible

and bodily

things ought to be forgotten, for they are a hindrance in

our way, He, who for our salvation became man, is not to be accounted among them, for He is the truth, the door, 15.

and the way, and our guide unto

all

good.

Let the spiritual man, then, take this for granted.

Let him aim at complete abstraction and forgetfulness so that, as much as possible, no knowledge or form of ;

they existed not shall remain in his memory, so that the memory thus emptied and free as

created things

may be wholly

if

God, lost as it were, in holy oblivion. doubts are raised and objections made,

for

16. If, again,

as beforef with regard to the understanding, to the effect that in this *

way we

St.

shall

Teresa's Life ch.

t Bk.

ii.

be doing nothing, losing our xxii.

ch. xi.

u.

ch. xxiii.

and ch. xv.

18.


[CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

I.]

249

time and depriving ourselves of those spiritual blessings, of which the memory serves as a channel I can but ;

have replied to them here as I did before, and that there is no reason why I should dwell longer answer that

upon them

I

at present.

Only

let

us remember, that

if for

knowledge and forms is the spiritual man must not

a time this forgetfulness of

all

be profitable, therefore grow wearied for God will draw near in His not

felt to

;

time, and that for so great a blessing we ought wait long, and patiently persevere in hope.

own

to

Though it is true that we shall scarcely meet with anyone who in all things and at all times is under the 17.

direct influence of God,

whose union with Him,

continuous that his faculties are divinely directed

is ;

so

still

there are souls, which for the most part in their opera tions are under the guidance of God, and these are not souls

which move themselves

in the sense of St. Paul,

he said that the sons of God

and united

in

Him

'

those

are led

who

by the

accomplish divine actions in their nothing

Rom.

vff.

is

are transformed,

Spirit of God,'* to faculties.

strange, for these operations

seeing that the union of the soul

when

must be

divine.

This

is

divine,


THE ASCENT

250

CHAPTER Three kinds of

evils

[BOOK

IU.J

II.

to which the

soul

is

when not

liable,

in

darkness, with respect to the knowledge and reflections of the memory.

THE

spiritual

Explanation of the

man

is

first.

subject to three evils and incon

he persists in the use of the natural veniences, knowledge of the memory, with a view to drawing near if

Two

unto God, or for any other purpose.

of them are

The

first proceeds positive, and the third is negative. from the things of this world the second from the devil and the third, which is negative, consists in the ;

;

hindrance and disturbance of the divine union, which this

knowledge brings with

2.

it.

The first, proceeding from the things kinds of

a subjection to

many

knowledge and

reflection,

of this world,

is

evils, the result of this

such as falsehoods, imper fections, desires, opinions, waste of time, and many other things which greatly defile the soul. that in yielding to these notions fall into

to

be

many

true,

errors

what

is

;

for

and

reflections,

very often what

certain,

It is clear,

is

we must

false

seems

doubtful, and the contrary

;

we can scarcely ever ascertain thoroughly a From all these we shall escape, if we truth.

seeing that single

make 3.

we

the

memory

blind to these notions and reflections.

Imperfections beset the

hear, see, smell,

memory

touch, and

taste

at every step in all ;

for these touch

such as grief and fear and hatred, useless hopes, empty joy, or vain glory. All these at

certain affections,

least are imperfections,

and sometimes undoubted venial


[CHAP.

II.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

J

251

things which disturb perfect purity and simple union with God. Desires also are certainly excited, for sins

;

and

reflections in question naturally a mere disposition to retain these produce them, and are also liable reflections furnishes food for desire.

the knowledge

We

many a trial through our own opinions, because memory must err in the recollection of the good and

the

to

of others

;

No man,

for evil.

good

these evils,

sometimes

for

who

evil

taken for good, and believe, can ever escape

evil is

as I

does not blind his

memory as

to all such

matters. 4. If

you say that a man may easily overcome

when they come upon him,

trials,

utterly impossible, for

if

all

I answer, that

these it

is

he gives heed to these reflections follies, and some of them ;

they involve innumerable

and minute that they cling to the soul unawares, pitch to the hand that has touched it. I repeat,

so subtle like

then, that the best

way

once, banishing them 5.

You

to

overcome them

to

do so at

utterly out of the memory.

will further object,

deprives itself of

is

and

many good

say, that the soul thus

thoughts and meditations

about God, and which are most profitable to it in the blessings they bring with them. I answer, all that is purely

God and promotes

pure simple general and not to be rejected, but only what

confused knowledge, is detains the memory on

this

may

And

accomplish this purgation,

most profitable

forms, figures, and

images,

similitudes of created things.

in order that

God

pureness of soul

that pureness which

consists

in

is

not

setting the affections thereof on any created or tran sitory things,

and

in

not regarding them

;

for in

my


THE ASCENT

252

opposite conduct will not

t?''e

opinion,

[BOOK to

fail

III.]

make

a

deep impression because of the imperfection, which cleaves to the powers of the soul

in

their operation.

much better to impose silence on the God may speak. In order to attain to

It is, therefore,

faculties, that

must

this state, the natural operations

This takes

cease.

when the soul comes and when God speaks to

place, as the prophet saith,

solitude with its faculties,

heart

' :

I will 6.

I

.

.

if

the

and

will lead her into the wilderness,

.

to her heart.'*

speak

But

into

still

you

profit nothing, if the

upon God, and that ness and distraction

object

and

say, that the soul will

not reflect and dwell

memory does it

will

be liable

I answer,

it is

to

much lukewarm-

impossible; for

if

the

memory be entirely withdrawn from the things of this life and of the next, no evil, no distraction, no folly or vice can enter within

such things insinuate themselves

it

through the wandering of the

no way by which they can

for then there is

memory

nor anything to give occasion to them. This certainly would be the case, it we opened the door to the consideration of earthly things, while it is shut against that of heavenly things enter,

:

but

we

the door

shut

prejudicial to union,

come, bringing the

and out of which

memory

which

everything

against

distractions

is

may

into silence, that the Spirit

only may be heard and saying with the prophet, Speak, '

;

Lord, for

Thy

of the bride

my

spouse

;

is

Os.

ii.

bridegroom

also

is

saith of her,

'

the state

My

sister,

a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed

so that nothing *

Such

servant heareth.' f for the

may

14.

enter within. t

I

Kings

iii.

IO.

+ Cant.

iv.

12.

up,' J


[CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

III.J

253

be 'enclosed' without anxiety or alarm and He Who, when the doors were shut, entered bodily in among His disciples, and said, Peace 7.

Let the

soul, therefore,

;

'

be unto you/* in an unexpected and inconceivable way, will enter spiritually into the soul without its knowledge or co-operation,

closed

-

;

when

it

keeps the doors of

its

powers

the memory, understanding, and will, and

fill

it

with His peace, turning into it the river of peace, as it is written, O that thou hadst hearkened to My command '

ments take

;

thy peace had been as a

away

all

And He

river.' f

misgivings, and suspicions,

will

uneasiness

all

and darkness, which made the soul afraid that it was already, or on the point of being, lost. Be, therefore, earnest in prayer, and hope in detachment and empti

ness

;

thy good will not tarry.

CHAPTER Of

the second

evil,

III.

coming from the

THE

second positive

the notions of the

through the

evil spirit

natural apprehensions of the

memory.

which the soul

is

liable

from

memory, comes from the

devil,

who

evil, to

by these means has great power over it. For he can heap forms upon forms, and thereby infect the soul with pride, avarice, envy,

He

and hatred.

can also excite

unjust enmities, vain love, and delude us in Besides, he

is

wont so

to impress matters

that falsehood seems true,

and truth

many

ways.

on the fancy,

false.

Finally, all

the greatest delusions of Satan, and the evils of the soul *

St.

John xx

19.

f

Is. xlviii. 18.


THE ASCENT

254

[BOOK

enter in through these notions and forms of the

Now

if

the

memory were

memory.

blind to these things, and

annihilated in forgetfulness of them,

door against the

III.J

would shut the

it

con

evil spirit, so far as this evil is

cerned, and free itself wholly from these things, which

would be a great blessing.

The

evil spirit

the soul but through the operations of

cannot molest

its faculties,

and

by the help of forms and fancies for upon these depend, more or less, all the operations of the other

chiefly

faculties.

:

And,

therefore,

if

the

annihilates

memory

them, the devil can do nothing because he can find nothing to lay hold of, and without something

itself as to

;

of that kind he can do nothing whatever. 2.

Would that spiritual

directors could clearly see,

great are the evils, which the wicked spirits

inflict

how upon

memory, when they make use of it what sadness and affliction and vain joys they occasion, souls through the

;

both with regard to the things of

God and

the things ol

the world; what impurities they leave rooted in the

mind, distracting self-recollection,

it

so profoundly from that supreme

which consists

in fixing all the

powers

of the soul on the

One Incomprehensible Good, and

withdrawing them

from

emptying of the

memory,

all

objects

of sense.

This

though the advantages of

it

are not so great as those of the state of union, yet,

merely because

it

delivers souls from

much

and sadness, besides imperfections and great good.

sorrow, grief,

sins, is in itself a


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, rv.]

CHAPTER Of

the third

evil,

255

IV.

proceeding from the distinct natural knowledge of the memory.

THE

third

to

evil,

which the soul

natural

is

liable

from the

of the

apprehensions memory, is negative. These apprehensions can hinder moral, and deprive us of spiritual, good. And, first of all, to show how they hinder moral good, we must keep in mind, that moral

good consists

in curbing the passions,

our disorderly desires

and

;

and

in restraining

the result of which

is

peace,

which appertain unto moral good. But this curbing and restraining of the passions is im possible for any soul, that does not forget and withdraw tranquillity,

from

all

rest,

those things, by which

and no trouble

is

its

affections are excited

;

ever produced in the soul but by the

For if we forget all apprehensions of the memory. things, there is then nothing to disturb our peace or to seeing that, as they say, what the eye has not seen the heart does not desire. excite our desires

;

a truth of daily experience whenever the soul broods over anything, it is changed or disturbed, be 2.

it

This

is

:

much or little, according to the measure of its apprehen

sion.

If the subject of its thoughts

be serious and dis

agreeable, it elicits feelings of sadness or dislike if, on the other hand, the subject be pleasant, its feelings are ;

those of joy and desire.

The

inevitable result of these

changing apprehensions is interior disorder: joy and grief, hate and love succeed each other, and there is no possibility of preserving a uniform state

which

is

an


THE ASCENT

256

moral tranquillity

effect of

of

all these.

r

BOOK

lit.]

but by the studious oblivion

know

It is, therefore, quite clear that this

ledge of the memory greatly hinders the good of the moral virtues.

A

cumbered memory also hinders the mystical or spiritual good for the disturbed soul, having no founda 3.

;

moral good is, so far, incapable of that which is spiritual, because this enters into no soul, that is not

tion of

under control and ordered

in peace.

Besides,

if

the soul

cleaves and gives heed to the apprehensions of the

can attend to but one thing at a time if it occupies itself with apprehensible things, for such are the notions of the memory, it is impossible that it can be

memory

it

at liberty for the incomprehensible,

which

is

as I have already said,* the soul that will

God must do

God.

For,

draw near

by not comprehending, rather than by comprehending f it must change the changeable and the comprehensible for the unchangeable and in unto

so ;

comprehensible.

CHAPTER The

profitableness to all

the

ot

forgetfulness,

thoughts and knowledge,

V. and emptiness vith regard which naturally occur to

memory.

THE evils which sions of the

flow into the soul, through the apprehen

memory, suggest

to us the opposite benefits,

which result from forgetting them and emptying ourselves of

them

;

because, as the natural philosophers say, the

doctrine of contraries *

Book

ii.

ch. 8.

is

the same. f St. Teresa, Life, ch. xviii.

18.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. V.J 2.

In the

first

place, the soul enjoys tranquillity

peace of mind, because

it is

consequence, what pure.

is

and

delivered from the harassing

vexations of thoughts and notions of the

is

257

memory

;

and, in

more importance, the conscience is a preparation for human and

of

This state

divine wisdom, and for the acquisition of virtue. 3.

In the second place,

delivered from

it is

many sug

gestions, temptations, and assaults of Satan, who, through these thoughts, insinuates himself into the soul, and at least causes

it

said,* into sin

to fall into ;

as

it is

impurities and, as I have

many

They have thought and So when these thoughts are '

written,

spoken wickedness.' f

driven away, the devil has no

weapon wherewith

to

assail the soul. 4.

and

In the third place, while the soul is self-recollected, forgetful of all things, it is then prepared for the

inflowing and teaching of the

Holy Ghost,

Who

'

will

withdraw Himself from thoughts that are without under Even if we derived no greater benefit standing.' + from this forgetfulness and emptiness of the memory, than our deliverance from pain and trouble, that of itself because the pain and a great gain and blessing troubles, occasioned by the adversities of this life, bring no

is

;

relief with

in general,

them, but rather aggravate those adversities and hurt the soul. For this it was that made

David say, Surely man passeth as an image, yea, and he '

is

quieteth himself in vain is

And

disquieted in vain.' :

always vanity, because *

Ch.

it

it

is

truth, eveiy

i.

5.

man

dis-

clear that disquietude

serves to no T

iii.

J Wisd.

for

in

good

Ps. Ixxii.

8.

Ps. xxxviii.

Yea, even


THE ASCENT

258

[BOOK

the whole world were thrown into confusion, and

if

things in hurts us

it,

disquietude on that account

more than

it

is

all

vanity, for

To endure

relieves us.

III.J

it

all things,

with an equable and peaceful mind, not only brings with it many blessings to the soul but it also enables us, in the ;

midst of our

difficulties, to

have a clear judgment about

them, and to minister the fitting remedy for them.

Solomon knew wellthe advantage of this disposition. have known,' saith he that there was no better thing than to rejoice, and to do well in this life ;' * that is, in 5.

4

'

1

all

however adverse they may

be,

bids us rejoice rather than be sad, that

we

the events of this

the wise

man

life,

not lose that greatest good, peace of mind in adversity as well as in prosperity, bearing all things

may

alike.

This peace of mind no

man

will ever lose, if only

he will forget these notions and cast aside thoughts, and withdraw from the sight, and hearing, and discussion of matters, so far as so frail

it is

and weak,

possible for him.

We

are naturally

that, in spite of all self-discipline,

we

can scarcely avoid stumbling on the recollection of many though it things, which disturb and disquiet our mind ;

may have been once established in peace and tranquillity, oblivious of all things. This is the meaning of the prophet when he said, I will be mindful and remember, and my soul shall languish within me.'f '

*

Eccles.

iii.

12.

t Lnm.

Hi. 20.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

VI.

[CHAP.

]

CHAPTER >

Of

second

the

kind

of

250

VI.

apprehensions

the

:

and

imaginary

supernatural.

THOUGH, while apprehensions,

I

treating of the

first

kind of natural

also sufficiently explained the imaginary,

which are also natural,

it

division, because of the

was necessary

make

to

attachment of the

this

to

memory

other forms and notions of supernatural things such are visions and revelations, locutions and impressions, :

which come upon us in a supernatural way. When these things have happened to the soul, the image, form, or figure of them remains impressed upon

memory

or the fancy

;

it,

the

in

and sometimes that impression

is

necessary to caution men on that the memory may not be perplexed by this subject these images, and that they may not prove a hindrance

exceedingly vivid.

It is

:

union with

to

2.

soul

God

in

pure and perfect hope.

I say, then, that in order to attain that blessing, the

must never

reflect

upon those

been clearly and distinctly present to

objects, it

in

way, so as to preserve the forms, notions, them. eyes

;

We must always keep the

which have

a supernatural

and

figures of

this principle before

more the soul attends

to

any

clear

and

our dis

tinct apprehension, natural or supernatural, the less will

capacity and disposition for entering into the abyss of faith, wherein all things else are absorbed. For, as I

be

its

said before,*

no supernatural forms or knowledge,

ot

which the memory takes cognisance, are God they bear :

u


THE ASCENT

260

no proportion

[LOOK

III.]

Him, neither can they serve as proximate means of union with Him. The soul, if it is to draw to

near unto God, must empty itself of everything that is not God and the memory, therefore, must also get rid of all forms and knowledge, in order to be united to ;

Him 3.

in the

of perfect and mystical hope.

way

This must be done; for

all

possession contradicts

hope, which, as the Apostle writes, possession: 'Faith

is

is

of things not in

the substance of things to be hoped

the evidence of things that appear not/*

for,

quently, the

Conse

more the memory divests itself, the greater its

hope and the greater its hope, the greater its union with God. For with respect to God, the more the soul ;

hopes, the more

when

is

it

is

there are

obtains,

most divested

fectly divested,

such as

it

;

will then

it

and

it

then hopes most

and when

it

be per

have the possession of God, But

possible on earth in the divine union.

many

souls,

who

will not deprive themselves

of that sweetness and delight, which the

these things, and

in

shall

finds

memory

who, consequently, never attain

supreme possession and perfect sweetness for he 'that doth not renounce all that he possesseth,

to this

;

cannot be a disciple 'f of Christ.

CHAPTER The

evils inflicted

things

THE if

spiritual

he attends *

Ilebr.

on the soul by the knowledge of supernatural Their number. if reflected upon.

man

exposes himself to

and

to, xi.

VII.

i.

five

kinds of

evils,

that knowledge,

reflects on, t

St.

Luke

xiv. 33.

and


[CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

VII.]

261

those forms, which are impressed upon his mind by the things which pass through it in a supernatural

way.

The

frequent illusions, mistaking one thing

first is

for another.

The second

proximate occasions of presumption

is

or vain glory.

The

third

the opportunities of deceiving, which

is

they furnish to the devil.

The

fourth

The

fifth is

is

hindrance to union with

low views of God

As to the first evil,

2.

attends

to,

and

reflects

it is

for the

God

most

in hope.

part.

clear that if the spiritual

man

upon, these notions and forms, he

must be frequently deceived in his judgment about them. For as no man can thoroughly comprehend what passes, in the order of nature, into his imagination, or

have a

sound and certain opinion about it much less will he be able to decide correctly about supernatural things, ;

which are beyond our understanding and of rare occur He will frequently attribute to God what is after rence. all

but fancies, and to the evil

and

to

God what

is

spirit

from satan.

what

Very

is

from God,

frequently,

or evil to others or to himself will be present to

through these forms or figures

them most

certain

and

him he

will consider false,

however,

I

and he

will consider

and yet they

will be nothing Other impressions made upon

true,

else but utter falsehoods.

:

good him

though they are true

;

this,

consider the safer course of the two, for

it

usually proceeds out of humility. 3.

But

if

he

is

not deceived as to their truth, he

may be


THE ASCENT

262

[BOOK

as to their kind and the value to be set

may

look upon that which

on what

important as

is

what

is trifling

may

to

be of this or that kind, when

consider

And

trifling.

he

III.]

upon them

;

as important,

and

as to their nature,

his imagination presents to it is

he

not

' ;

putting

him

dark

ness for light, and light for darkness, bitter for sweet, * for bitter.'

he escapes delusion in one thing, it will be surprising if he does in the next for even if he abstains from determining anything in the

and sweet

Finally,

if

;

matter,

is

it

sufficient, if

some detriment upon

am now

which

I

which

I shall

4.

The

he attends to

it

at

all,

to bring

himself, if not the precise one of

speaking, yet some one of the others of

immediately speak.

duty, therefore, of the spiritual

man

is,

if

he

wishes to escape from the delusions of his own judg ment, not to decide himself upon his own state or feelings, or

what such

knowledge, or impressions not to desire to know anything ought may about them, nor give heed to them, except for the purpose of manifesting them to his confessor, that he

mean.

may

visions,

He

learn from

him how

apprehensions, or

what

to in

empty

his

memory

every case

may

of these

be most

expedient for him, in the same spirit of detachment.

For be these things what they may, they cannot help us God so much as the least act of earnest faith and

to love

hope done

in the emptiness of all things.

*

Is. v. 20.


[CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

VIII.]

CHAPTER Of

the second evil

THESE

:

263

VIII.

the danger of self-conceit and presumption.

supernatural apprehensions of the memory, if to, or regarded at all, are to spiritual men

attended

occasions of vanity or presumption.

For as he who has

no experience of them, is exceedingly free from this vice, because he sees nothing in himself whereon to presume ;

so on the other

hand

he, to

whom

they are familiar, has

an ever-present reason for thinking himself to be some thing, seeing that he is the object of these visitations. It is

very true that he

thanks, looking

may

upon

attribute all to

himself as

God and

utterly

give

unworthy;

nevertheless a certain secret self-satisfaction and conceit,

on the subject of these apprehensions, will grow up in the mind, out of which, unawares, great spiritual pride

Men might

see this very clearly, if they on that would but feeling of dislike and aversion produced in them by those, who do not commend their spirit, or attribute no value to their experiences, and on

will arise.

reflect

that feeling of distress, which they have told that others also

have the

this is the fruit of secret self-esteem

cannot be it

made

up 2.

They think is

and

pride,

are

All

and they

to understand that they are steeped in

to their very eyes.

wretchedness

when they

like or greater gifts.

that a certain recognition of their sufficient,

own

while at the same time they

are filled with secret self-esteem and personal satisfac

taking more delight in their own spirit and gifts than in those of another. They are like the Pharisee

tion,


THE ASCENT

264

who thanked God

that he

was

'

[BOOK

was not as the

HI.]

rest

of

men,' and that he practised such and such virtues he was satisfied with himself, and presumed upon his state. :

'

O

God,

I

give Thee thanks/ said he,

*

that I

am

the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers

not as

...

I

a week, I give tithes of all that I possess.'* these men do not say this in so many words, as the

fast twice in

Now

Pharisee did, but they habitually think so

them even become so proud as

to be

;

and some of

worse than

devils.

When

they are conscious of certain feelings, and devo tional sweetness in the things of God, as they imagine, self-satisfied, that they look upon them most near unto God, and upon others uncon scious of the like feelings, as most unworthy, and they

they become so selves as

despise them as the Pharisee did the publican. 3.

To avoid

this pestilent evil,

abominable in the sight

of God, there are two considerations to help us. is

The

first

that virtue does not consist in these apprehensions and

however sublime they may be, nor in any personal experiences of this kind, but on the con in trary, in that which is not matter of feeling at all,

feelings about God,

great humility, contempt of ourselves and of all that belongs to us, profoundly rooted in the soul and in being glad that others have the same opinion of us, and in not ;

wishing to be thought well of by others at 4.

The second

is,

all.

that all visions, revelations,

heavenly feelings, and whatever

and

else is greater than these,

are not worth the least act of humility bearing the fruits

of that charity which neither values nor seeks *

St.

Luke

xviii.

II, 12.

itself,

which


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. IX.]

265

thinketh no evil except of self, which thinketh well not of Let men, therefore, cease to regard self, but of all others. these supernatural apprehensions, and labour rather to

may be

forget them, that they

free.

CHAPTER Of the

IX.

the work of the devil through the imaginary apprehensions of the memory.

third evil

FROM what

:

have already written, we may gather and learn how great is that evil which the devil inflicts on the I

soul through these supernatural

Not

apprehensions.

only can he represent to the memory and the fancy many false notions and forms which shall seem good and true,

impressing them on the mind and senses with great and this in such effect and certainty by his suggestions a

way

as to

make

his representations be taken for

what

they pretend to be, for as he changes himself into an angel, he will seem to be light to the soul but also in the very truths of

God he can tempt us

in divers ways,

by communicating unruly motions about them desires if

and

affections,

whether

to our

spiritual or sensual.

the soul takes pleasure in these apprehensions,

very easy for satan to increase our affections

and

to

and

For it

is

desires,

plunge us into spiritual gluttony and other

evils. 2.

And

inspire

that he

and

fill

may

succeed the better, he

is

wont

to

the senses with delight, sweetness, and

pleasure, in the things of

God, so that the

soul, dazzled

and enervated by that sweetness, may become blind


THE ASCENT

266

[BOOK

III.]

through pleasure, and set itself more upon sweetness than upon love at least not so much upon love and attach greater importance to these apprehensions than to that

detachment and emptiness, which are to be found and hope and the love of God. He doeth all

in faith

from that point, he may, by

this that, starting

little

and

little, delude the soul, and bring it to believe, with great readiness, all his lies. For the soul that is blind con

siders falsehood to be falsehood

because

evil,

it

no longer,

evil

not to be

puts darkness for light, and light for

darkness, and falls into endless disorders. That which was once wine is turned into vinegar, as well in the natural as in the moral and spiritual order.

comes upon the itself in

deny

And

things.

soul, because

All this

did not in the beginning

the pleasure ministered by supernatural as this pleasure

not so hurtful, the soul

but suffered

it

it

to

at first not great or

sufficiently afraid of

it,

remain and grow, as the grain of

mustard grows into a great slight error in the

was

was not

tree.

For, as

it is

said,

a

beginning becomes a great error in the

end. 3.

The

soul that will escape this evil, the

work of the

must not take any pleasure in these apprehensions* for if it does the result will most certainly be blindness, and then a fall for delight and sweetness, of their own devil,

;

proper nature, dull and blind the soul.

This

is

the

meaning of David when he said, Perhaps darkness shall cover me and night shall be my light in my pleasures ;'* '

;

that

and

is,

perhaps darkness shall cover

I shall take night for *

my

light.

Ps. cxxxviii. II.

me in my

pleasures


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. X.]

CHAPTER Of

267

X.

the fourth evil of the distinct supernatural apprehensions of

the

THERE

is

not

memory

much

to

:

the impediment to union.

be said here about the fourth

evil,

because I have been speaking of it throughout this book I have said that the soul, in order to be united 1

:

with

God

in hope,

must renounce

memory because nothing ;

in the

memory,

is

not

God

is

that

our hope in

if

all

possession in the

God must remain to

be

perfect.

No

form, or figure or image, natural or supernatural, of

which the memory takes cognisance can be, or resemble, God, as it is written, There is none among the gods like '

unto thee,

O

Lord

upon any such

it

;'*

and therefore

if

the

memory

hinders the divine union.

dwells

In the

first

because it perplexes itself; and in the next, because the greater its occupation the less perfect its

place,

necessary for the soul to forget, from, all distinct forms and knowledge

It is therefore

hope.

and detach

itself

of supernatural things, that

memory, the divine union

it

may

in perfect hope.

CHAPTER Of the

fifth evil,

not hinder in the

XI.

resulting from the imaginary supernatural appre

hensions

:

low and unseemly views of God.

THE

fifth

from

the willing retention, in the imaginative

evil is

no

less hurtful to the soul.

It flows

memory,

of

the forms and images of those things which are supernaturally communicated to the soul, but especially then, Ps. Ixxxv. 8.


THE ASCENT

268

when we would apply them

{"BOOK

means

as

to

III.]

the divine

It is a very easy thing for us to form notions about the nature and greatness of God, unworthy of and

union.

unbecoming His incomprehensible being. Though our reason and judgment may withhold us from forming any express decision that tudes

;

still

God

any one of these

is like

simili

the mere consideration of these apprehensions

God

generates in the soul a certain esteem and sense of

which are not so high as transcends

faith teaches

comparison and

all

namely, that

;

He For

all

comprehension. over and above that the soul takes from God that which

it

gives to the creature, the mere consideration of these

apprehensions naturally produces within it a certain comparison of them with God, which will not leave it to

judge of God as before,*

no

it

ought to do.

For, as I have said

heaven or on earth, no

creature whatever, in

forms or images, natural or supernatural, cognisable by our faculties, however noble they may be, present any

comparison or proportion with the being of because neither genus nor species includes Him. in this life the soul of

God

;

And

man is incapable of comprehending

and distinctly anything that cannot be classed This is why St. John said, under genus and species. 'No man hath seen God at any time ;'t and Isaias and clearly

St. Paul, 'Neither

hath

Yea, God himself said

and

it

entered into the heart of man.'*

to Moses,

'

Man

shall not see

Me

He, therefore, who shall perplex his memory

live.'

and the other powers of his soul with matters that they can comprehend, will never think and feel about God as he ought to do. *

Bk

+

Is. Ixiv.

ii.

t

ch. viii.

4

;

i

Cor.

ii.

9.

St.

John

i.

18.

Ex. xxxiii. 20.


[CHAP, xi.] 2. I will

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

269

my meaning by

a somewhat low

explain

The more we

eyes of our regard upon the courtiers of a king, and the more we consider them, the less will be our reverence and respect for that

comparison.

fix the

king for, even if our disesteem of him be not formally and distinctly recognised by the understanding, it is ;

The more we

nevertheless visible in our conduct. attribute to the courtiers the

more we rob

their

king

;

and we cannot have a high opinion of that king then, because his courtiers are so respected in his presence. This

is

the soul's treatment of

God whenever

gives heed to these apprehensions.

a very

mean one

His creatures,

;

for

God

is

the soul

This illustration

of another nature than

infinitely different

from them

is

all

all.

These apprehensions, therefore, must be put out of sight, and the eyes must regard none of them, but be fixed 3.

upon God

in faith

and perfect hope.

Hence those who

not only give heed to these apprehensions, but also think that God is like unto some of them, and that by their

help they

may

attain unto union with

fallen into grievous error

they do not profit by the light

;

of faith in the understanding, which

which

Him, are already

this faculty is united

is

the

with God, neither also will

they grow up to the heights of hope, which of union for the as I have said,* all

memory by

;

that union

imaginations whatever.

Book

ii.

ch. vi.

is

the

must be

the severance of the

*

means by means

effected,

memory from


THE ASCENT

270

CHAPTER The

[BOOK

III.]

XII.

benefits of withdrawing the soul from the apprehensions of

Answer

the imagination.

The

an objection.

to

difference

between the natural and supernatural imaginary apprehensions.

THE

benefits that result from

emptying the imaginative faculty of these imaginary forms become manifest by the consideration of the five evils which they inflict on the soul,

if it

would retain them, as

the natural forms.*

But, beside these benefits, there

are others of perfect rest

For,

and

enjoys

it

has set

itself free

of mind.

tranquillity

putting aside that natural

when

I said before of

rest

which the soul

from the dominion of

images and forms, it is also delivered from the anxiety of ascertaining whether they are good or evil, and what ought to observe with reference to the one and the other. It also escapes from troubling and conduct

it

wasting the time of its confessors, for it does not require them to determine whether these things are good or evil,

or the nature of them,

which

matters, the knowledge of

not necessary for it, for all it has to do is to reject them in the sense I have already explained,! and is

to give

no attention whatever to them.

strength, thus wasted, will be then

and more

The time and in a better

employed

profitable way, in conforming the will to God,

in earnestly striving after detachment, poverty of sense

and all

spirit,

which consists

in a willing real privation of

consoling and tangible support, interior as well as This we practise well when we seek and

exterior.

strive to separate ourselves *

Book

ii.

ch. xii.

from these forms t Bk.

ii.

ch. xvi.

;

the issue


f

CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

XII.]

271

of which will be that inestimable blessing of drawing

Who

near unto God,

has neither image, form, nor figure and that blessing will be proportional to our estrange ment from all forms, images, and figures.

;

2. You will here perhaps object, and say, Why, then, do many spiritual directors counsel us to profit by these divine communications and impressions, and to desire

God

the gifts of

Him

to

in

we may have wherewithal

that

return,

have nothing

to give

if

?

*

'

Extinguish not the Spirit groom say to the bride, Put say,

'

upon thy arm'

heart, as a seal

And

to give

He gives nothing, we too unto Him Why does St. Paul

for

Why

r

does the Bride

Me

as a seal upon thy This seal signifies some ?f

according to this teaching, we we are not only not to seek them, but, even if God sends them, to reject them. It is also certain that God, when apprehensions.

yet,

He

sends them, sends them for our good, and that their Pearls are not to be thrown away. effects will be good.

Yea,

it

is

even a sort of pride not to yield a willing we could do

reception to God's communications, as if

without them in our

own

strength.

the reader, for a solution of this difficulty, to the fifteenth and sixteenth chapters of the second 3. I refer

book, where the objection has been in great measure replied to.

I said there that the benefits of the

natural apprehensions, in

passively wrought

when they the

super

are from God, are

soul, at the

time of their

presentation to the senses, without the co-operation of

our

An

faculties.

act of the will admitting

therefore unnecessary, for, as I * i

Tness.

v. 19.

have

t Cant.

them

is

said, if the soul viii. 6.


THE ASCENT

272 will then exert its

and

own

[BOOK

III.]

faculties, the effect of that natural

inferior exertion will

be to hinder the supernatural

then wrought by God through their intervention, rather than any profit from that active exertion. Yea, effects

rather,

inasmuch as the

hensions soul on

is

fruit of

these imaginary appre

passively communicated to the soul

part must be passively disposed in relation to

its

them without any

interior or exterior acts, as I

already explained.

This

is

impressions, for

this

conduct

them by

by

guish

inferior actions of our

Him

if

we attempted

have

really to preserve the divine

we

shall not destroy

own.

This, too,

we should

not to extinguish the Spirit, for

way

so the

;

to

walk

in a

is

the

extin

way along which

God does not lead us. We should be doing that when God communicates His Spirit to us passively,

if,

as

He

does in these apprehensions, we should then actively exert our understanding, or seek anything in them beside and beyond that which God communicates

through them. This

4. its

is

evident; for

if

the soul then exerts itself

action will be only natural,

or,

supernatural, far inferior to that which

own

at the utmost, if

God wills.

In

neither does, nor can, influence itself supernaturally is If,

God

that so influences

it,

but with

then, the soul will do anything is

cation of God, that

the Spirit

own

is,

own

;

because

it

The

God.

This, then,

is

;

it it

consent.

itself, it will,

neces

communi

has recourse

operations, which are of another kind

inferior to those of

the Spirit.

its

concerned, hinder the

sarily, so far as itself

to its

its

strength the soul cannot do more, seeing that

and

far

to extinguish

inferiority of this exertion is clear, for


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XII.]

273

the powers of the soul, in their ordinary and natural

upon some figure, form, and these are but the rind and accidents of

course, cannot act or reflect but

or image

;

the substance and of the spirit hidden beneath them.

This substance and

spirit unite

not with the powers of

the soul in true understanding and love, until the reflex

and imperfect action of those powers shall have ceased. The end and aim of the soul in this exertion is to receive in

itself

the substance,

understood and loved, which

The

those forms involve.

difference therefore

between

the active and passive operation, and the superiority of the latter,

is

the

same as that between a work

in the

and the same work already between the search after an object, and that

course of performance,

performed

;

object sought

and found.

If the soul, then, will actively exert its faculties

5.

on

those supernatural apprehensions, in which God, as I

communicates passively the spirit of them, it do nothing else but forsake what is already done, in

have will

said,

anew and

so will have no enjoyment of

order to do

it

neither will

own exertions have any other effect than what God hath wrought. Because, as I have

to frustrate said,* the

;

it,

its

powers of the soul can never of themselves which God communicates inde

attain to the Spirit,

pendently of them.

If

we were

to attach

any importance

imaginary apprehensions, we should directly extinguish the Spirit which God infuses through them to these

into the soul

:

we must

therefore put

them

aside,

and

observe a passive conduct in their regard, for God is then lifting up the soul to things above its power and its *

Bk.

ii.

;

ch. xvi.


THE ASCENT

274

[BOOK

III.J

knowledge. This is the meaning of the prophet when he said, I will stand upon my watch, and fix my foot *

upon the tower; and said to me.'* That

I will

watch to see what

will

be

is, keep guard over my faculties, and will not suffer them to move a step, and so

shall I

I

will

be able to see what will be said to

I shall understand

and enjoy what God

me supernaturally. As to the objection founded on

me

will

;

that

is,

communi

cate to 6.

the words of the

Bridegroom, those words refer to that love which He demands, the function of which is to make the beloved ones resemble each other.

And

therefore

He

saith to

Put Me as a seal upon thy heart f where the arrows strike that are shot forth from the quiver of love,

her,

that

'

'

the actions and motives of love

is,

so that all the

arrows of love might strike Him, being there as a target for them, and that all may thus reach Him, and the soul

become

like

of love until '

also,

it

Him

through the actions and motives becomes transformed in Him. He says

unto

as a seal

upon thy arm.' The arm implies the it is that which comforts and sustains

exercise of love, for

the beloved.

Therefore

apprehensions, which

imaginary as

all

we have

to do with these

come upon us from above,

of every other

kind, whether

locutions, impressions, or revelations,

is,

account of the letter or the outward veil significative

preservation

and

intelligible fact

of the

interiorly in the soul.

make much *

love

of

It is in

ii.

i.

visions,

making no that

is,

the

to attend only to the

God which they this sense that we

of these impressions

Habac.

as well

;

cause are to

not of the sweett Cant.

viii. 6.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XII.]

275

ness and delight of them, nor of the figures, but of the impressions of love which they produce. And with this object only in view

mind

that

occasion

we may probably

at all times call to

image and apprehension, which have been the of love, in order to furnish ourselves with

For though the

motives of love.

effect of that

appre

hension be not so great when recalled to mind as

when of

was

first

our love

it

God

it

;

is

especially

supernatural

when

the recollection

images,

figures,

or

it

was

at the recollection

communicated, renewed and our minds still

is

lifted

up unto

of one of those

impressions

which

usually so impress themselves on the soul that they

continue for some time there, and can scarcely be driven

away.

These images, thus imprinted on the soul, produce whenever they are adverted to, the divine effects of love, 7.

sweetness, and light, sometimes more, sometimes

with

whom

less,

He which they are impressed God thus deals receives a great gift, for he

for that is the

end

for

has a mine of blessings within himself. The images which produce such effects as these are vividly grounded in the spiritual

memory, and resemble not those which

the fancy preserves.

not therefore necessary

It is

when

we would remember them to have recourse to the fancy, because we have them in ourselves, as an image seen in a mirror.

And whenever

a soul has them formally,

it

may then profitably recall them to that effect of love because they will not hinder the union of love in faith,

;

when we do not dwell upon them, but make use of them, towards exciting our love, and, when that is done, instantly dismiss S2

them:

in this

way they

will

be of


THE ASCENT

276

service to us towards the

[BOOK

attainment

III.]

of the divine

union. It is difficult to

8.

determine when these images touch

directly the spiritual part of the soul,

and when they

Those of the fancy are usually the imagination and the fancy of some

are only in the fancy.

very frequent, for people are in

of imaginary visions, abundantly present

full

one form

;

whether

it

be the result of the great vigour

of that organ which, after the slightest effort of thought,

represents at once and portrays in the fancy the usual forms, whether

the

it

be the work of satan, or whether

it

be

work of God, but not formally impressed on the

soul.

But, however,

their effects.

we may determine

their nature

Those that are natural or diabolic

by

in their

however accurately remembered, produce no good effect, neither do they spiritually renew the soul, and the recollection of them issues only in dryness origin,

;

while those which are from

remembered, some good

God

produce, whenever

as at the

effect,

originally presented to the soul.

first

when

The formal images,

those which are impressed on the soul, almost always

when remembered, produce some

effect.

He who

has

these will easily distinguish the one from the other, for

the difference between I

experience.

them

will

be most evident

after

have one thing, however, to say; those

which are formally and durably impressed on the soul are of very rare occurrence. But of whatever kind they be, the

may

good of the soul consists

comprehend anything save 9.

God

in not seeking to

alone by faith in hope.

Finally, as to that objection which charges

pride

who

rejects these things

when they

him with

are good, I


[CHAP.

reply that

is

it

way, as

best

the road that

MOUNT CARMEL.

OP

xiii.J

I

a prudent humility to use them in the have shown, and to guide our steps by

is safest.

CHAPTER Of spiritual knowledge

v

THE

as

XIII.

it

relates to

third kind of apprehensions

spiritual

knowledge

:

not

by the

cognisable

memory. When

it

rest,

spiritual

the soul has

memory.

of the

because

bodily sense of the fancy, like the also

277

memory

is

belongs to the but because it is

and

reminiscence

once had one of this

may, when it wills, call it to mind, not by reason of the figure and image which the apprehension thereof

kind,

it

may have

left

behind in the bodily sense for that but because

incapable of receiving spiritual forms intelligently

and

spiritually

remembers

it

is it

by that form which is also

it which remains impressed on the soul a form, or image, or knowledge spiritual or formal, by which the soul remembers it or by the effect it has

of

wrought. hensions

belonging

This

is

among

the reason

those

why

of the

I

place these appre

memory, though not

directly to the fancy.

The nature of

knowledge, and the conduct to be observed by the soul with reference to it, in order to be united with God, has been sufficiently explained in 2.

this

the twenty-fourth chapter of the second book, where I

as an apprehension of the understanding. will there find that there are two kinds of them, one

treated of

You

it

of uncreated perfections, another of creatures.

I

am


THE ASCENT

278

now speaking only

so far as

[BOOK

touches this part of

it

subject; namely, the conduct of the

matter.

I

I did of the

say again, as

III.

memory

my the

in

formal impressions

same kind, that they may be remembered

in the preceding chapter- for these are of the

being of created things

when

the effect of

them

is

good, not, indeed, for the

purpose of dwelling upon them but for quickening our love and knowledge of God.

them produces not busy

itself

this effect, the

with them.

uncreated perfections, as

we

can, for

it

But

will

But as

if

the recollection of

memory should never

to the

knowledge of the that may be remembered as often

produce great results

;

for that

is,

as I said before, touches and impressions of the divine

am

union towards which I

memory does for

The

not remember these by the help of any

form, image, or figure that

the soul

directing the soul.

may have been

none such belong

to

impressions of union with the Creator

and

effects of light, love, joy,

impressed on touches and

the

but only by their

spiritual renewing,

some

of which, as often as they are remembered, are wrought

anew

in the soul.

CHAPTER General

directions

for

the

conclude,

then,

man

in

memory,

it

guidance of the spiritual

relation to the

To

XIV.

this

memory.

subject of the

be as well here to furnish the spiritually-minded reader with certain brief directions, of universal applica

may

tion,

how he

is

to unite himself, in the

memory, with


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xiv.]

279

For, notwithstanding that the matter has been

God.

it

sufficiently discussed, it

repeat

will

here concisely.

must remember, that

be more easily grasped, this in view, then,

Having

my

object

is

if I

we

the union of the soul

memory by hope. Now, that which we what we hope possess not, and the less we possess the greater scope we have for hoping, and, consequently,

with

God

in the

for is

the greater the perfection of hope

hand, the more

we

possess the less

and, consequently, the less

is

;

while, on the other

room

is

there for hope,

the perfection of hope.

Accordingly the more the soul strips the memory of forms and reminiscible matters, which are not the divinity 01

God

incarnate

the recollection of

our true end, for

He

is

Him

always subserves

the way, the guide, and the

good the more it will fix the memory on God, and the more empty it will make it, so that it shall source of

hope 2.

all

Him Who is What we have for

the fulness of

it.

to

in order to

do,

then,

live in

the simple and perfect hope of God, whenever these forms, knowledge, and distinct images occur,

is,

not to

our minds upon them but to turn immediately to God, emptying the memory of all such matters, in loving affection, without regarding or considering them more

fix

than

suffices to

enable us to understand and perform our

We

they have any reference thereto. must do this without taking any satisfaction in them, in obligations,

if

order that they

And

therefore

may leave no disturbing we must not omit to

;

behind.

think

of,

and

our duty to do and to for in that case, provided no selfish attachments

remember, those things which

know

effects

intrude,

it is

these recollections will do no harm.

Those


THE ASCENT

280

sentences of the thirteenth chapter of the

[BOOK

III.]

book

will

first

be profitable to us in this matter. 3.

my

But,

dear reader, bear in mind that I have

common

nothing, and will have nothing, in

with the

men who, full of the pride to destroy among the faithful

opinions of those pestilent

and hate of satan, labour

the holy and necessary use, and noble worship, of the

images of God and the different from theirs for ;

saints. I

am

My principles are very not saying that images

ought not to be allowed, and worshipped, as they do but I only show the difference between them and God,

;

men

to make use of the sign in such a way as hinder their progress to the reality, by not that it shall resting upon it more than is sufficient for their spiritual

teaching

advancement. 4.

Means

are necessary to the end

;

such are images,

they remind us of God and His saints. But when dwell upon the means more than the nature of such means demands, we are then hindered and perplexed.

for

we

How much

more, then, must this be the case with those

images and and visions which are formed within These are liable to innumerable risks and the soul interior

?

But with regard

illusions.

to the memorial, worship,

and veneration of those images, which our holy mother the Church sets before us, there can be neither risk nor delusion

;

and the recollection of them cannot

profitable,

because

what they this use of

when God

it is

And when

represent.

images they

the divine union,

if it

grants

fail

to

be

always connected with love of will

the

memory makes

always help

it

permits the soul to

this

on towards

fly upwards, from the image to the grace,


281

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xv.]

in forgetfulness of the creature

reality,

belongs to

and

all

that

it.

CHAPTER XV. Of

the dark night of the

Proofs from Deuteronomy and

will.

Division of the affections of the

the Psalms.

will.

WE have done nothing by the purification of the standing towards grounding

it

in faith,

under

and that of the

according to the sense explained in the sixth chapter of the second book if we have not also purified the will in the order of charity, which is the in

memory

hope

and by which works done in faith are living and meritorious, and without which they are nothing worth. For as St. James saith, 'Faith without works third virtue,

is

dead.'*

That

without the works of charity faith

is,

is

dead. 2.

And now

that I have to treat of the night and

active detachment of the will, with a view to

its

perfect

establishment in this virtue of the love of God, I cannot find a better authority than that contained in

nomy

' :

Deutero

Lord thy God with thy and with thy whole soul, and with thy

Thou

shalt love the

whole heart, whole strength/ f

This

is

that the spiritual

all

man

am

teaching him that he may truly draw near unto God in the union of the will with God in love. Man is here bidden to employ for

and

ought to do

God

that I

all

all his faculties

and

desires, all the functions

affections of the soul, so that all the skill

strength of the soul *

S.

James

may ii.

20.

minister to

and

all

and the

no other end than

t Peuter.

vi. 5.


THE ASCENT

282 this,

'

as the Psalmist says

I will

:

Thee/*

The strength of the

passions,

and

and is

desires, all of

But when the

will.

desires to God,

not God,

it

[BOOK keep

my

soul consists in

III.]

strength to its

powers,

which are governed by the

will directs these powers, passions,

and turns them away from

all

that

then keeps the strength of the soul for

God, and loves Him with its whole strength. And that the soul may be able to do this, I purpose here to show

how

be purified from all unruly affections which are the cause why our strength is not wholly kept for God. 3.

the will

These

to

is

;

number

affections or passions are four in

Joy, hope, grief,

and fear.

:

If these passions are excited only

way of God, so that we feel no joy except in that which is simply for the honour and glory of our Lord God, nor hope except in Him, nor grief according to reason, in the

except in what concerns Him, nor fear but of is clear,

then, that the strength

directed to,

and kept

for,

and

skill

Him only,

it

of the soul are

For the more the soul

God.

aught beside Him, the less effectively will it rejoice in God, and the more it hopes in aught else, the

rejoices in

less will

it

hope

in

God.

The same

applies to the other

passions also.

In order to a more complete explanation of this I shall, as usual, speak of each of these passions and desires 4.

the will separately, for the whole matter of union with

God

consists in purging the will of its affections

desires, so that the vile

divine will, being 5.

and human

made one with

will

may become

Ps.

Iviii.

10.

the

the will of God.

These four passions domineer over the *

and

soul,

and


[CHAP, xv.] assail

it

OF MOUNT CARMF.L.

.

283

with the more vigour, the less the will

is

attached

God, and the more dependant it is on created things it then rejoices easily in those things which do not deserve to be rejoiced in, hopes in that which is value

to

;

for

grieves over that lor which perhaps

less,

rejoice,

and

where there

fears

it

nothing to

is

ought to be afraid

of.

5. It is

from these

when

affections,

disorderly, that all

the vices and imperfections of the soul arise

;

and

all its

when they are well governed and restrained. Let us remember that if but one of them be under the

virtues also,

control of reason, so will the others be also

;

for they are

bound together, that the actual course of the virtual course of the rest, and if one of them be

so intimately

one

is

actually restrained, the others will be proportionately restrained also.

For

will consequently

if

hope

the will rejoices in anything,

same measure, and there present and as that joy

in the

and fear are virtually ceases, in the same proportion cease also grief and and hope. grief

6.

it

;

The

sense, to

will with its four passions

may be

said, in

fear

some

be represented by the four living creatures with

one body which Ezechiel saw They had faces and on four the sides. And the wings wings of one were '

:

They turned not when but every one went straight forward.'* The

joined to the wings of another.

they went, wings of each one of these four affections are joined to the wings of the others, and whithersoever one of them

goes there also of necessity go virtually the others. When one of them goeth on the earth so do the others, and *

Ezech.

5.

8, 9.


THE ASCENT

[BOOK

up, so the others also.

Where hope is, when one

284

when one

is lifted

HI.]

there also will be joy and fear and grief; and

has 8.

retired, the others retire also.

Remember,

therefore,

O

thou

the whole soul, with the will and follow in the

be

they will

wake all

also

passions

its

preventing

who

art spiritual, that

other powers, will

its

of every one of these passions

captives to will

it,

live in

the soul and

afflicting

it,

and repose of sweet Wilt

flight to the liberty

And

contemplation and union.

that

;

and that the three other

so Boethius says

:

thou contemplate truth in clear light ? Drive away joy and hope and fear and grief.* For while these passions

have dominion, they will not suffer the soul to enjoy that tranquillity and peace which are necessary for the attainment of wisdom, either natural or supernatural.

CHAPTER Of the

first

XVI. What

affection of the will.

joy

Its diverse

is.

sources.

THE first

of the passions of the soul and of the affections

of the will

is joy,

which, in the sense I speak

of, is

nothing else but a certain satisfaction of the will joined to the appreciation of the object

it

regards

;

for the will

has no joy except when it appreciates an object and is This refers to active joy, to that joy satisfied with it.

which the soul *

'

.

Tu .

.

feels

quoque,

Gaudia

si

vis

when

clearly

and

distinctly per-

lumine claro cernere Verum,

pelle, pelle

Jfe dolor assit.'

it

timorem, spemque fugato, Boet. de Cons. Phil.

lib.

I.

metr. viL


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

LCHAP. xvi.] ceives

why

it

and when

rejoices,

it is

285 in its

own power

another joy, which is passive: when the soul finds itself rejoicing, without clearly perceiving and sometimes even perceiving

For there

is

being out of

its

to rejoice or not.

why

it

rejoices,

it

control, or not control, that joy.

hereafter.*

I

am now

voluntary, which

is

at that time to

power

I shall

speak of

this

speaking of that joy, active and

derived from clear

and

distinct

perceptions of things. 2.

Joy arises out of six

different sources

natural, sensual, moral, supernatural,

and

speak of these successively, for

I shall

:

temporal,

spiritual good.

we have

so to

order the will with regard to them, that, unembarrassed

by them, in God.

may not omit to And for this end

it

must take

for granted,

place the strength of there

is

its

joy

one truth which we

and lean upon as upon a

staff,

which must be thoroughly understood, for it is the light by which we are to be guided, in which this doctrine is to is

be regarded, and by which our joy in all these goods to be directed unto God. That truth is this: The

ought to rejoice in nothing but in that which tends the honour and glory of God and that to serve Him

will to

;

in evangelical perfection is the greatest

render

Him

:

whatever

is

beside this

is

of any use to man.

*

Dark Night Bk.

ii.,

ch.

xL

honour we can of no value nor


THE ASCENT

286

CHAPTER Of joy

THE

mean

I

children, relations, in

How

which the

will

which men are striving better servant of God,

If a

!

free

:

My

from

son ...

sin.'*

wise

man

from

sin.

rejoice in his riches

falls

themselves, occasions of

man

sin,

the heart sets

frailty,

away from God, which

is sin.

yet

itself

The

we may

Christ, in the gospel, calls riches

learn that he

riches will be w^ounded

recorded by St. rich

thou shalt not be

therefore says, that the rich shall not be free

thorns, f that

upon

rich,

man

as the wise

sin,

;

very true that temporal goods are

Our Lord Jesus

2.

thou be

by reason of our

upon them, and

dignities;

man's wealth made him a

he might

if

It is

not necessarily, in generally,

and other

;

But what vanity to offices, and the like, after

but riches are rather occasions of saith

temporal good

rejoice.

rejoice in riches, rank, titles,

*

is

directed.

All these are matters

alliances.

may

be

to

it is

riches, rank, office,

and

III.J

XVII.

source of joy I mentioned

first

by which

in temporal goods.

[BOOK

who

by Matthew, 'Amen,

I

shall hardly enter into the

show us plainly

that a

shall set his will

Those

sin.

fearful

words

say to you, that a

kingdom

of heaven,'*

man ought

not to rejoice in his riches, because they expose him to so great a danger. David also bids us withdraw ourselves from riches, saying, 'If riches abound, set not your heart I will not allege further

*

t

Ecclus. St.

xi. 10.

Matt. xix. 23.

upon them.'

proof in a matter so clear, for t

St.

Matt.

Ps.

Ixi.

xiii.

n.

22,


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xvii.]

when

have said

shall I

hath said

knew

great riches, and he said, 'I

sun, .

.

.

the evils of them that

all

Solomon was a man

?

have seen

and behold

287

of

full

Solomon

wisdom and

of

when he

well what they were

things that are done under the

all

vanity and vexation of spirit and a fruitless solicitude of the mind.' * And, * He all is

that loveth riches shall reap

no

fruit

And An

from them.' f

again, 'Riches kept to the hurt of the owner.' +

instance of this

we have

A

in the gospel.

rich

man,

because his harvest was abundant, rejoiced in his expec But God said to him, thou tation of years of comfort '

:

night do they require thy soul of thee; and whose shall those things be which thou hast provided ?'

fool, this

The Psalmist also teaches us the same truth, saying, Be not thou afraid when a man shall be made rich for when he shall die, he shall take nothing away nor shall his glory descend with him that is, we are not 4

.

.

.

;

'

;

||

envy our neighbour because he

to

riches will not profit let

is

grown come

in the life to

rich, for his

yea, rather

;

us pity him.

The sum own or in

of the matter

3.

his

him

is this

:

let

no

man

his brother's wealth, unless

tends to the better service of God.

it

rejoice in

be that

it

If rejoicing in riches

way endurable, it is when we spend and employ them for God for there is no other way of

can be made in any

;

making them

profitable.

the temporal goods of in

which

is

+

Eccles.

title,

vanity, unless

enable us to serve *

The same

i.

14

;

God ii.

26.

principle applies to

rank, and office

we

better,

feel

all rejoicing

that these things

and that they make the t

Ib. v. 12.

Ib. v. 9. St.

y

;

Ps. xlviii. 17, 18.

Luke

xii.

20.


THE ASCENT

288

way

to eternal life

more

secure.

[BOOK

And

we

as

r.an

III.]

never

be sure that these things enable us to serve God better, it will be vanity to rejoice deliberately in them, because such a joy can never be reasonable. For as our Lord For what doth it profit a man if he gain the saith '

:

whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul ?* There cannot be anything worth rejoicing in except that which makes us better servants of our God. 4.

Neither are men to rejoice in their children, because

they are many, rich, endowed with abilities and natural graces, and prosperous, but only in that they serve God. Neither the beauty, nor the wealth, nor the lineage of

Absalom the son

of

he served not God.

David

To

profited

him

at

all,

rejoice in such a son

because

would have

been vanity. It is also vanity to desire children some do who disturb the world with their fretting they

know

not

if

their children will be

;

as for

good and servants

They know not whether the pleasure they

of God.

expect from them quillity

;

may

not be turned into pain, tran

and consolation

and disquietude, whether they shall

into trouble

honour into disgrace and, finally, not be to them greater occasions of sinning against God, as is the case with many. Christ has said of these that ;

they compass sea and land to enrich themselves and to make themselves twofold the children of perdition :

You go round about the sea and the land to make one proselyte and when he is made, you make him the child '

:

of hell twofold 5.

If a

man's

more than

yourselves.' f

affairs are prosperous, if his

undertakings

succeed, and all his wishes are gratified, he ought to *

St.

Matt. xvi. 26.

t

St.

Matt,

xxiii.

15.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xvii.]

fear rather than rejoice, for this

is

289

a dangerous occasion

of forgetting, and offending against, God.

Solomon was

this cause that I

counted error

and

;

*

vainly deceived

me

smiled upon

counted

I

was

for

cautious, saying: 'Laughter

to mirth I said

he said

It is as if

?'

It

Why

when

:

art thou

all

things

and delusion

error

it

:

to

for, beyond all doubt, it is a great error on the part of man if he rejoices in the sun folly shine of prosperity, when he does not know for certain

rejoice therein

;

and

that

wise

any durable good.

will lead to

it

is

where there

'

The heart

of the

mourning,' saith Solomon,

is

the heart of fools where there

blinds the heart,

makes

and gain.

is

is

mirth.'t

'

and

Vain rejoicing

inconsiderate and thoughtless, our but mourning opens eyes to the vision of our loss

that

'

This

better to

all,

6.

to the

go

of feasting

;

the reason

also

God

should

for

vanity

is

a

and not

why he wife.'

||

wife

said

He

of heart, as

if *

+

and that

saith *

it is

them

:

or

a husband to they shall

Yea, rather they the Apostle

to set their affections

to give their heart *

come.'

know not whether

because, as

humbled,

marriage leads other,

a

is to

the better in that state.

feel

;

man

house of mourning than to the house we are put in mind of the end of

rejoice in marriage, for they

serve

'

for in that

and the living thinketh what It is

the wise

why

better than laughter

is

anger

it

upon each

whole unto God.

Art thou loosed from a wife

saith,

?

This

seek not

married ought to live with freedom he had not been married. The Apostle

that

is

t

Eccles.

ii.

Eccles.

vii. 4.

2.

II

Ib.

vii. 5.

Ib. vii. 3. I

Cor.

vii.

27.


THE ASCENT

290

[BOOK

teaches the same doctrine with regard to

goods, saying is

short

it

;

* :

all

III.J

temporal time

This, therefore, I say, brethren, the

remaineth that they also

who have wives be

they had none and they that weep, as though they wept not and they that rejoice, as if they rejoiced not and they that buy, as though they possessed not and as

if

;

;

;

;

they that use this world, as

if

they used

it

not.' *

The

Apostle teaches that to rejoice in anything which tendeth not to the service of God is vanity and without profit, for all joy which is not in God brings no good to the soul.

CHAPTER Of

the evils resulting from joy in temporal goods.

IF I were to describe

when

XVIII.

all

the evils that environ the soul

the affections of the will are set upon temporal

goods, paper and ink would fail me, and time itself would be too short. Slight beginnings issue in great A spark, evils, and in the ruin of great prosperity.

unquenched, kindles a great fire, which may burn up the whole world. All these evils have their root and origin

one principal

a negative character involved in this joy, namely, a departure from God. in

2.

evil of

For, as the drawing near of the soul unto

with the affection of the will so the going

is

God

the source of all good,

away from Him, through love of created

things, issues in all evils

and

calamities, in proportion to

the joy and affection which unite us to the creature. This * I

Cor.

vii.

29, 30.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xviii.] is

the departure from God.

291

In proportion, therefore, to

our departure from God, more or

be the

less, will

evils

resulting from it in greater or less extent and gravity and for the most part they are at once most extensive ;

and most grave. are four 3. There negative and

degree

have

is

from which

all

worse

the

the fourth

the evils involved in this case will

upon the soul.

These four degrees are 'The beloved

described in the following words of Moses

and kicked

than

the other evils,

all

And when

positive, proceed.

reached,

fallen

one

degrees,

other, in this negative evil,

he grew

and

:

and gross he forsook God, who made him, and departed from God

grew

fat

;

fat,

thick,

;

his salvation.' * 4. its

This growing fat

of the

soul,

once beloved,

is

Hence the

absorption in the joy of created things.

it is a certain degree of evil, going backwards obtuseness of mind with regard to God, which obscures

first

;

His blessings, as a cloud darkens the sky, hiding the For the moment the spiritual man light of the sun. rejoices in anything,

and gives the reins

to his foolish

desires, he becomes blind to God, and overshadows with a cloud the pure perceptions of his judgment. For the *

bewitching of vanity/ saith the Holy Ghost,

'

obscureth

good things, and the wandering of concupiscence overturneth the innocent mind.'t

The Holy

Spirit teaches

here that concupiscence alone, and joy in created things, even when the soul is without previous malice, are sufficient to precipitate it into the first degree of evil ;

into that obtuseness of *

T2

mind and obscurity

Deuter. xxxii. 15.

t Wisd.

of judgment

iv.

12.


THE ASCENT

292

[BOOK

III.]

which destroy the perception of truth and a right judg

ment

man gives way to

in all things. If a

concupiscence,

or rejoices in temporal things, neither his sanctity nor his prudence can prevent his

fall.

This explains those words of God * Neither shalt thou take bribes, which even blind the wise/* This is 5.

:

especially addressed unto judges clear

who have need

of a

and vigilant judgment, which cannot coexist with Hence God commanded Moses gifts.

avarice and joy in

men

to appoint

out of

all

for

the people

who may judge

the

would not blind

their

God does

sion.

men

who hated avarice Provide able men .... that hate avarice, people at all times,' f men who '

judges

:

judgment by the

men

not say

selves completely against a

that avoid avarice, but

we would defend our particular affection we must

For

that hate avarice.

lust of posses

if

and guard ourselves against it by contrary feeling. The reason why Samuel was always so upright and enlightened a judge was, as he

hold

it

in abhorrence,

the

us himself, his abstinence from gifts taken a gift at any man's hand.'*

tells

6.

text

' :

The second degree grows out of the first, he grew fat, and thick, and gross.'

shows

have

If I

as the

Thus

*

:

the will becomes gross and distracted, by greater liberty in worldly things. it

It

has no scruples about the pleasure This state grows out of a

finds in created things.

previous indulgence in joy, for

engrossed therein

*

the soul of

the result of yielding to

man it

is

and

;

by joy and desire causes the will to and expend itself on created things. Great evils

this engrossing of

dilate

it is

when

Exod.

xxiii.

8.

it

t

Ib.

xviii.

21, 22.

I

Kin^s

xii.

3


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XVTII.]

from

293

because this second degree leads us away from the things of God, and from holy practices, and robs us of all pleasure in them, because we take result

this,

pleasure in other matters, and abandon ourselves to

many

empty joys and

follies, to

second degree

is

completely reached,

mind and

habitual devotion, and the

Those who have

to secularities.

When

pleasures. it

the

destroys utterly

desire are given

up

fallen to this second

degree, not only have their judgment and understanding

blinded as to truth and justice, like those fallen into the first

in recognising

;

and doing

words of the prophet after rewards.

' :

their duty, according to the

They

all

They judge not

love bribes, they run

for the fatherless

the widow's cause cometh not unto them.'* are not without sin, especially

bent upon them, for those

if

;

and

In this they

such duties are incum

who have

fallen to this depth

are not free from malice, like those of the

These, therefore,

who have

but they are also remiss and tepid

first

degree.

withdraw themselves more and more

from justice and virtue, because they inflame the will

more and more by

this their affection for created things.

The

characteristics of those

are

great

lukewarmness

careless observance of

who in

them

;

are in this second state

spiritual

things,

and a

they perform their highest

duties rather as if they were ceremonies, or from pulsion, or from habit, 7.

The

and not from

com

love.

third degree of this negative evil

is

the utter

forsaking of God, neglect of His law, because men will not deny themselves in the merest trifle of this world, and,

finally

mortal

committed

sin *

Is.

i.

z\.

through

con-


THE ASCENT

294

This degree

cupiscence. *

words,

is

[BOOK

described in the text

He forsook God Who made him/

includes

all

immersed

III.

by

J

the

This degree

those the faculties of whose souls are so

in the things of the

world

in riches

and the

commerce thereof that they are

utterly regardless of

the obligations of the divine law.

In that which con

cerns their salvation they are forgetful and dull, but

quick and clear in the things of the world, so

them children of this

that our Lord calls

of them, that they

*

of their

light in their

so

world,' saying

are wiser in their generation than

the children of light

management

much

'

' ;

* that is,

own

more prudent

affairs

than the children of

Such persons are nothing

own.

in the

in the

things of God, but everything in the things of the world. These persons are the truly avaricious they have so ;

profusely

wasted

affections

their

and

desires

upon

created things that they can never be satisfied; their

more, the more they depart from the fountain which alone can satisfy them, namely, desire

and

God.

It is of these that

thirst increase the

God speaks by

the

mouth of the

prophet, saying, 'They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living water, and have digged to themselves cisterns,

broken reason

cisterns, that

why

can hold no water.' f

the covetous

not the assuaging of his

These persons

fall .into

poral goods; of

whom

man

That

thirst,

the

but the increase of

innumerable sins through

it.

tern

the Psalmist hath said, 'The

have passed into the affection of the

heart.' +

The fourth degree of this negative evil is described the same text thus: 'departed from God his salvation/

8.

in

is

finds in created things,

*

St.

Luke

xvi. 8.

t Jerem.

ii.

13.

J

Ps. Ixxii. 7.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. xvin.J

This

is

295

the issue of the third degree, of which I have just

spoken.

The

9.

avaricious man, because he

makes

light of his

law of God, on account of temporal goods, departs from Him in memory, under standing, and will. He forgets Him as if He existed

want of

because he has made

not,

his

affection for the

god

;

for avarice

service of idols.

*

5

is,

money and temporal

prosperity

according to the Apostle,

This fourth degree extends to

*

the for-

getfulness of God, to the setting of the heart formally on

money which ought to be set formally upon God men had no other god than money. They have into this fourth degree

who

and supernatural things

God

;

temporal

if

fallen

scruple not to subject divine

to temporal, as if the latter

were

on the contrary

sub

their duty being to act

jecting

as

;

rule,

things to God, as reason requires.

Such was the impious Balaam, who sold for money the gift of God,f and Simon Magus, who thought that the l

God may be purchased with money,' + and attempted to buy it. They thought more of money; of

gift

they seemed to think that others did so too, and that they would sell the gift of God. J 0.

There are many who, in various ways, have

into this fourth degree of evil

fallen

their reason is blinded

by and they are the servants of money and not of they labour for it and not for Him they propose ;

avarice,

God to

;

;

themselves a

making money

human and

in divers

god, and preferring 11.

This *

it

class, too,

Coloss.

iii.

5.

to

ways

not the divine reward; their principal

end and

God, their ultimate end.

comprises t Num.

all

xxii. 7.

those miserable $ Acts

viii.

20.

men


THE ASCENT

206

who god

so love their earthly goods as to esteem

and who therefore shrink not from the

;

their

own

lives

whenever

fall into

injury; they

work of

their

them

their

sacrifice 01

god and for wretched objects

despair,

own hands,

III.]

suffers the slightest

their

death upon themselves

inflict

[BOOK

:

thereby showing, in the

the miserable reward which

god bestows upon them. When their expectations them they despair and die, and those who escape this

their fail

final

calamity live in the torments of continual anxiety

and misery

no joy enters into temporal happiness attends them

their

;

;

they pay tribute to

in sorrow of heart, gathering

their

god

final

misery of their just perdition

*

and no

soul,

as

:

money it

is

for the

written,

Riches kept to the hurt of the owner.' * 12.

up it

Those

also of

whom it

is said,

'

God

delivered

to a reprobate sense/ f are of this class, for joy,

makes possessions

Those who do not

its

fall

men down

end, drags

them

when

to this.

so low are objects of deep

com

back from the way ot Be not thou afraid when a man shall be made

miseration, because they turn '

God.

and when the glory of his house shall be increased. For when he shall die he shall take nothing away, nor shall his glory descend with him/+ 'Be not afraid rich,

when a man

shall

of him, thinking

he

be made rich

him

;'

that

is,

be not envious

superior to thyself, for

when he

nothing away with him, neither his glory nor his joy shall descend with him. shall die

*

shall take

Eccles. v. 12

t Rom.

i.

28.

J

Ps. xlviii. 17, 18.


L CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

xix. 1

I

CHAPTER The

297

XIX.

benefits resulting from withdrawing our joy from temporal things.

THE

man, then, must be very

spiritual

careful of the

beginnings of joy in temporal things, lest it should grow from little to be great, and increase from one degree to another.

What

is

small becomes large, out of

and one spark

slight beginnings result great evils,

joy

mountain on

to set a

enough

may

be, let

him quench

he shall be able to do

it

it

fire.

However

later;

slight his

and not

at once,

is

trust that

he has not the

for if

courage to do so when it is but beginning, how can he presume upon success when it shall have taken root

and grown Lord,

f

Remember

?

He

that

is faithful

faithful also in that 2.

what

He who is

which

avoids what

great.

especially those

is

is

in

words of our

that which

is

least,

is

greater.'*

slight will not stumble over

Little things involve great evils,

because

down when He who has begun

the fences and wall of the heart are broken

they enter in. And the proverb says, his work has accomplished the half of

it.

It is for this

reason that David admonishes us, saying, 'If riches

abound, set not your heart upon them.'f If man will not do this for God, and because Christian perfection requires

it,

yet because of the temporal advantages,

beside the spiritual ones, which such conduct brings

he should keep his heart perfectly free from all In this way he not only delivers joy of this kind.

with

it,

*

St.

Luke

xvi. 10.

t

Ps.

Ixi.

n.


THE ASCENT

298

[BOOK

III.]

himself from those pestilent evils enumerated in the pre ceding chapter, but also, repressing all joy in temporal goods, acquires the virtue of generosity, one of the chief attributes of God; and which cannot possibly coexist

Moreover, he attains to liberty of

with avarice.

spirit,

and peaceful confidence in God, together with the true worship and obedience of the will. He has greater joy and comfort clearness of judgment, repose, tranquillity,

in creatures if

he detaches himself from them

can have no joy in them

He

if he

considers

them as

;

and he

his own.

acquires also in this detachment from creatures a

clear

of them,

comprehension

so

as

to

understand

perfectly the truths that relate to them, both naturally

and supernaturally.

For

this reason his joy in

them

is

widely different from his who is attached to them, and The former rejoices in their truth, the latter far nobler. in their deceptiveness

;

the former in their best, and the

latter in their worst, conditions

;

the former in their sub

seeming and accidental nature, through his senses only. For sense stantial

worth, and the

latter

in

their

cannot grasp or comprehend more than the accidents, but the mind, purified from the clouds and species of the accidents, penetrates to the interior truth of things, for

that

is its

proper object.

Now

joy as a cloud darkens the judgment, for there can be no rejoicing in created things without the attach 3.

The negation and purgation of this leaves the judgment clear as the sky when the mists scattered. The former, therefore, has joy in all

ment of the joy are

will.

things, but his joy is not dependent

does

it

arise

from their being his

upon them, neither own and the latter, :


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

("CHAP, xix.] in so far as

299

he regards them as his own, loses in general

The former, while his heart is set joy whatever. of none them, possesses th,em all, as the Apostle upon as having nothing, and saith, with great freedom all

'

:

all

possessing

The

things.'*

latter,

while

in

will

attached to them, neither has, nor possesses, anything yea, rather created things have possession of his very ;

heart,

for

which cause he

therefore, all the joy

And,

will necessarily

in the heart

which

He who

4.

end in as

is

is

pain as a prisoner.

suffers

he will derive from creatures, many disquietudes and pains

in their possession.

detached from creatures,

not molested

is

during prayer or otherwise, and so, without losing his time, he gains easily great spiritual treasures. On the other hand, the covetous

by which

the limits of the chain

with

all his efforts

man

runs to and

fro,

within

his heart is bound,

and

can scarcely set himself free, even for

a moment, from the bondage of his thoughts, running incessantly thither where his heart

man, joy,

a

therefore,

is fixed.

must suppress the

keeping this in mind, that there

man may

first

spiritual

motions of this

nothing in which

is

rejoice except in serving

The

God, in promoting

His honour and glory, in directing all things to this e.nd, and in avoiding all vanity in them, not seeking his own pleasure and comfort in them. 5.

The absence

great for

of joy in created good, brings another

and excellent benefit

God: which

graces which

He

will give none.

is

:

sets

it

the

heart

a disposition meet for

will

And

those

bestow and without which even

*

all

free

in

this

? Cor. vl 10.

life,

for

He

one joy


THE ASCENT

300

denied

love

through

Him and

of

evangelical perfection, he

not

will

His

to

according

fold,

[BOOK

the sake

for

But

promise.*

if

When

God.

the

because he had

'

rich

in the

man,

much goods

all

laid

He

for

up

many

Him

years,'

so displeased, that

fool, this

night do they require thy soul of thee.' f

It

is

said unto

therefore justly to be feared,

God

joy

gospel, rejoiced,

God was

6.

were

it

offensive in the sight of

is

it

of

give them a hundred

so, the spiritual Christian ought to suppress

in created things because

III.]

* :

Thou

whenever we

looking on and preparing some chastisement for us, the bitter cup of our deservings;

rejoice in vanity, that

is

punishment of such rejoicing is frequently greater than its pleasures. Though the words recorded by St.

for the

John concerning Babylon be true hath glorified herself and lived in

' :

As much

as she

delicacies, so

much

torment and sorrow give ye to her.'* we are not to suppose that the pain will not exceed the joy, because it will

be far greater

there are

infinite

seeing that for passing pleasures

and everlasting torments

words mean that nothing punishment, for

shall

He Who

will

word, will not pass over our

escape

punish

empty

its

for

for

the

particular

every idle

joy.

CHAPTER XX. The

joy of the will in natural goods the will to

BY

mean

natural goods I

bodily constitution, *

St.

Matt. xix. 29.

God

and t

St.

all

is

vanity.

How

to direct

therein.

beauty, grace, comeliness,

other physical endowments,

Luke

xii.

19, 20.

+ Apoc.

xviii. 7.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

LCHAP. xx.]

and also good understanding, rational qualities.

for

Now,

a

301

discretion,

man

and other

to rejoice, because

he himself, or those who belong to him, may be thus gifted, and for that reason only, without giving thanks God, Who thus endows men in order that they may know Him and love Him the more, is vanity and delusion. to

'

Favour is

vain

:

the

praised.'*

deceitful,' saith

woman that He teaches

the wise man,

and beauty

*

is

feareth the Lord, she shall be

us that

man ought

rather to be

endowments, because they may so easily withdraw him from the love of God, and cast him down into error and vanity. This is the reason why afraid of his natural

physical grace

and

is

said to be deceitful

;

it

deceives a

man

him to that which is unseemly, through empty

allures

joy or complacency, either in himself, or in others so

Beauty is vain it makes ways, when he values it and rejoices endowed.

;

to rejoice in

God.

We

our natural

it

only

when

it

man in

fall

in divers

for

he ought

it,

enables him or others to serve

ought, therefore, rather to fear, lest perhaps gifts

and graces should become occasions of

offending God, through presuming upon them, or exces sive estimation of them, arising out of their continued

He, therefore, who is thus endowed, ought to be very cautious, and watchful in his conduct, lest he should furnish another with the opportunity of contemplation.

withdrawing his heart from God even for a moment. For these natural gifts and graces are so prolific in temp tations

and

in occasions of sin, as well to the

the beholder, that scarcely any one can avoid

ment of the heart

in them. *

Many

Prov. xxxi. 30.

owner as

all

to

entangle

spiritual persons, of


THE ASCENT

302

III.

[BOOK

natural beauty, have, under the influence of this fear,

prayed to God for their own disfigurement, that they might not be an occasion of vain affection or joy, either to themselves or to others. 2.

The

spiritual

man,

and render it insensible

must purify his will, empty rejoicing, remember

therefore,

to this

ing that beauty, and all other natural graces, are earth, from the earth, and soon return to it; that comeliness and

grace are but smoke and vapour and

if

;

he would escape

must esteem them as such, and his heart upwards unto God beyond them all, vanity, he

falling into direct

rejoicing

grace in things.

Thou

and delighted that God is all beauty and all Himself supremely, infinitely above all created

'They

shall perish,' saith the Psalmist,

remainest, and

ment.'*

If,

all of them shall

therefore, our rejoicing

*

but

grow old like a gar

is

not in God,

it

will

always be false and delusive. It is to this that those words of Solomon apply which he addressed to that joy

which has

sources in created things

its

' :

To

mirth, I

'

thou vainly deceived f that is when the heart suffers itself to be attracted by created things. said,

Why

art

?

CHAPTER The

evils

THOUGH many

of the

XXI.

will's rejoicing in

of these

evils

and

natural goods.

benefits,

describe under these several divisions of joy, be

which

1

common

kinds of joy, nevertheless, because they flow directly from joy and the rejection of it though com-

to

all

*

Ps.

ci.

27.

t Eccles.

ii.

2.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

'[CHAP, xxi.]

303

prised under any one of these divisions

each head of some evils and benefits,

speak under which are ^also I

found under another, because connected with that joy

which

is

common

to

But

all.

my chief object

is

to

speak

of those particular evils and benefits which rejoicing, or

not rejoicing, in

all

things, ministers unto the soul.

I

them particular evils, because they flow primarily and immediately from one particular kind of rejoicing, and call

and mediately from

only secondarily

another.

For

instance the evil of lukewarmness flows directly from

and every kind of joy, and kinds in general

;

is

therefore

common to the six

but that of sensuality

is

which flows directly only from joy goods of which I am speaking.

and

The

and bodily

effectually flow from

are, in 3.

spiritual

rejoicing

number, six principal

The

first

is

which

directly

natural

goods,

evils, then,

in

a particular

in the natural

evil,

2.

evils.

vain glory, presumption, pride, and

disesteem of our neighbour

for

;

man

no

can entertain

an excessive esteem of one thing without wanting respect for that

we

all

some other

disesteem

thing.

and

The

result

all

despise

is,

else

;

in

at least,

because

naturally, by esteeming one thing we withdraw our heart from all besides, and fix it upon that. It is most

easy to glide from this real contempt into an intentional

and deliberate despising of others

;

in particular or in

general, not in thoughts only, but in words as well, to

the

extent of saying that

such a person

is

not like

such an one. 4.

6.

The second evil is complacency and sensual delight. The third evil is flattery and empty praise, wherein


THE ASCENT

304 there

is

[BOOK

III.J

delusion and vanity, as the prophet saith,

'

O

people, they that call thee blessed deceive thee.'*

my

if we speak truly when we praise the grace and beauty of another, it will be strange if some evil be not involved, either in causing him to fall into vain

For, even

complacency and joy, or in ministering food to his imperfect affections and intentions. 6.

The

and the does,

fourth

.evil is

a general one

dulls the reason

it

:

spiritual sense, as the joy of

and

in

a certain

temporal goods

way even more.

For, as natural

goods are more intimately connected with man than temporal goods are, the joy which they minister makes a quicker and deeper impression upon the senses, and more effectually blunts them. Reason and judgment are not free; for the sense of this joy which touches

them so 7.

nearly, darkens

The

fifth evil,

them

which

by created things. 8. Then the sixth

is

as a cloud,

the dissipation of the

is spiritual

which grow

into weariness

so that in

the

and hence,

sloth

and lukewarmness,

and sadness

end we come

to

in divine things,

;

for if

any

Pure

hate them.

spirituality is inevitably lost in this joy,

principle

mind

spirituality exist,

will

it

at

least

in

be exceed

ingly sensual and gross, scarcely spiritual, or interior, or recollected consisting in sensible delight more than in the strength of the

mean and weak joy

-

as

If

spirit.

not

we

are in

to destroy the

an imperfect habit of

it

even

mind

so

habit of this

is sufficient to sully

the purity of our spirituality, without consenting to the acts

which

this

joy suggests *

Is.

iii.

-12.

we

are living

in

the


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxi.]

weakness of sense rather than

80S

the power of the

in

This will become manifest in the matter of

spirit.

and

perfection I

though

when

fortitude

do not deny that

the occasion shall arise,

many

virtues

coexist

may

with great imperfections, but no pure or healthy interior spirituality can coexist with these unchecked rejoicings ;

almost reigns, which wars against the and though we may be unconscious of the evil,

for here the flesh spirit,

yet, at least, secret distractions are the result. 9. I

now

return to the second evil, which involves

innumerable others. No pen can describe, no words can express, the nature and extent of the misery that results from rejoicing in natural grace and beauty.

These are daily occasions of murders, of honour of insults,

of

extravagant

dissipation,

lost,

emulations,

contentions, adultery and violence, of the ruin of

saints,

comparable in number to the third part of the stars of heaven, swept dragon.* colour

down

'How

is

by the tail of the become dim, the finest gold

to the

the

is

earth

changed, the stones of the

scattered in the top of every street.

sanctuary are

The noble sons

of Sion, and they that were clothed in the best gold,

how

are they esteemed as earthen vessels, the

of the potter's hands

' !

the poison of this evil or

little,

f ?

Is

any condition secure against

Who has

not drunk, be

of the golden cup of the Babylonian

that sitteth on the

'

work

it

much

woman, names

scarlet-coloured beast, full of

of blasphemy, having seven heads

and ten horns

'

?

+

Neither high nor low, neither saint nor sinner lives, to whom she has not given her cup to drink from, suborning *

Apoc.

xii.

4.

t i-am.

iv. i, 2.

J Apoc.

xvii. 3.


THE ASCENT

306

the heart in some thing

1

;

[BOOK

for all the

kings of the earth

She

have drunk of the wine of her fornication.

upon

III.]

seizes

conditions of men, the highest and the noblest,

all

itself, and puts the cup of her abominations in the holy place: 'There shall be in the Even one temple the abomination of desolation/*

the sacred priesthood

spiritually strong scarcely escapes the

which 10.

is

empty

This

is

wine of

this cup,

rejoicing.

the reason

why

of the earth have drunk of

said that all the kings

it is it

for there are

;

very few,

however holy they may be, who have not drunk and been corrupted, in some measure, by the cups of joy which the pleasure of natural grace and beauty supply. Observe, too, that the word of the wine of this joy,

it

seizes

And

if

no antidote be taken

expelled, the

life

of the soul

weakness having grown upon

down

men drunk

our

at once, is

;

off,

drink

with wine.

Spiritual

us, this

poison will drag

we

shall grind in the

sight,

with the hair of

Samson,f deprived of strength cut

first

we

and the poison

in danger.

to such depths of evil that

mill like

enemies

drunk,' for if

on the heart and deadens

obscuring the reason, as in

it,

us

'

is

captives in the hands of our

and afterwards, perhaps, die the second death,

as he did the

first

:

the draughts of this joy producing

what they did corporally in him, and unto this In the end our enemies will many day. surround us and say to our great confusion, Art thou he

spiritually in us

in

who broke

the cords, tore the lions, killed the Philis

tines, carried

away

the gates, and set thyself free from

the hands of thine enemies *

Dan.

ix.

27.

?

t Judges

xvi. 21.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

CHAP. XXII.J

I

11.

Let

me now

conclude with the requisite instruction If

for this poison.

307

you

feel

your heart moved by the

vain joy of natural goods, remember what vanity to rejoice in anything but in the service of God, it

dangerous

is

and ruinous.

who

Remember

ment of the angels endowments; they fell deformed

it is

how

the punish

rejoiced in their beauty

and

into the abyss below.

And how great are the evils which vanity Resolve, therefore, in time upon men !

brings daily to take the

remedy, according to the proverb,* Resist the evil in beginnings remedies are too late when the disease has grown for when the evil has grown in the heart, its

;

;

Look not upon the wine,' saith remedy is too late the wise man, 'when it is yellow, when the colour '

the

:

thereof shineth in the glass.

but in the end

it

and

will spread

XXII.

benefits of not rejoicing in natural goods.

are the benefits which the soul reaps

withdraws the heart from

this joy.

the love of God, and the other virtues,

a

for

personal

when

it

For beside disposing it makes

itself for

way

;

basilisk.' f

CHAPTER MANY

goeth in pleasantly

will bite like a snake,

abroad poison like a

The

It

humility and

universal charity

towards our neighbours. When our affections, free from the influence of natural goods, which are deceitful,

upon no one, the soul is free to love all men reason ably and spiritually, as God wills them to be loved. No

rest

*

Principiis obsta, sero medicina paratur.

U2

t Prov.

xxiii. 31,

32.


THE ASCENT

308

one deserves to be loved except

[BOOK

III.J

for his goodness,

and

when we

love in this way, our love

God, and

in great liberty,

in

there

it

is

and

if

pleasing unto

For then the

greater attachment to God.

more

also

God, and the deeper our love of

Him

more

is

there be attachment

this love grows, the

love our neighbour:

grows our love ot more we shall

the

for the principle of both

is

the

same.

Another great benefit is the perfect observance of our Saviour's words If any man will come after Me, let 2.

*

:

him deny

himself.'*

Now

the soul can never do this,

if

has any joy in its natural endowments for he who has even the slightest self-esteem, neither denies him it

;

self 3.

nor follows Christ.

Another great benefit of

makes the

this self-denial

soul tranquil, empties

distractions, controls the senses,

The

spiritual

man, seeking no

it

is,

that

it

of the sources of

and especially the

eyes.

joy, will neither look upon,

nor suffer his other senses to be occupied with, these endowments, that he may not be attracted by them, nor

be led to waste time or thought upon them, like the crafty serpent which stops its ears that it may not hear the incantations, so that they

make no impression upon

according to the likeness of a serpent, like the deaf asp that stoppeth her ears.' f If we set a guard over our senses, which are the doors of the soul, we shall '

it,

thereby guard and increase

its

purity and tranquillity

also. 4.

Another

benefit, of

who have made *

S.

no

less importance,

which those

progress in the mortification of this joy

Matt. xvi. 24.

t Ps.

Ivii.

5.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XXIL]

309

impure objects and the knowledge of them no longer impress, and sully the soul, as in their this

is

obtain,

:

case to whom this joy is still somewhat pleasurable. This mortification and self-denial grows into a spiritual

pureness of soul and body, of mind and sense, which issue in a certain angelical conformity with God, rendering both soul and body a worthy temple of the Holy Ghost. Man cannot be so pure if his heart enter tains

any joy

in these natural gifts

and graces.

It is

not

necessary to have given consent to any impure act, for this joy is sufficient to sully the soul and senses with the '

The Holy

knowledge of

evil,

discipline will

withdraw Himself from thoughts that are * that is, from thoughts not

as

it is

written

:

Spirit of

without understanding/ directed to

God by

right reason.

Another general benefit is this beside our deliver ance from the evils already mentioned, we are delivered 5.

:

also from innumerable other follies

and

evils, spiritual

and temporal, especially from that contempt which to the lot of all those

either in their

In this

way we

men, as

own

who

falls

value themselves, or rejoice

natural gifts or in those of others.

shall be esteemed as wise

in truth all are

and excellent

who make no account

of natural

goods, but only of those which are pleasing unto God. 6.

These benefits issue

in

a final

one, which

is

a

certain generosity of mind, as necessary in the service

of

God

by which temptations are endured, and by which virtues

as liberty of spirit,

easily overcome, afflictions

grow and

thrive.


THE ASCENT

310

CHAPTER Of

I

III.]

XXIII. Their nature and

the third kind, sensible goods.

The

[BOOK

varieties.

regulation of the will with respect to them.

HAVE now

to

wherein the will

of

speak

By

rejoices.

joy

sensible

in

sensible goods I

goods,

mean

all

cognisable by the senses, of sight, of hearing, of smell, of taste and of touch, and of the interior working

that

is

of the imaginative powers interior

the will

all

;

of which belong to the

and exterior bodily senses. In order to render blind to, and purified from, all joy in sensible

objects, directing

it

to

God,

we must

take for granted

namely, that the sense of man's lower nature * not, and cannot be, as I have said more than once,

this truth, is

capable of knowing or comprehending God, as He is. The eye cannot see Him, or anything that resembles

Him

;

the ear cannot hear His voice, nor any sound that

resembles

it

the smell cannot perceive any odours so

;

sweet, the palate cannot taste any savour so delicious,

any contact so exquisite and nor anything like unto Him, and the thoughts

nor can the touch thrilling,

feel

and imagination also cannot conceive any form or shape which can possibly be any representation of Him. From '

the beginning of the world they have not heard, nor

perceived with the ears beside Thee neither hath

;

it

:

the eye hath not seen,

O

God,

the eye hath not seen, nor ear heard>

entered into the heart of man.' f

Now

sweetness and delight enter into the senses in two ways; either from the mind through some interior 2.

*

See Bk.

i

ch.

vi.

f

Is.

Ixiv.

4

;

I

Cor.

ii.

9.


[CHAP.

OF MOUNT CARMEL.

xxm. J

311

divine communication, or from outward objects repre

But according to the text just quoted, our lower nature cannot know God either in the way of the

sented to them.

spirit or in the

way

so great a matter,

and

having no capacity for receives that which is of the mind

of sense it

;

for

spirit in the senses only. Therefore to

occupy the

will

with the joy that has its sources in any of these appro hensions, will be at the least but vanity, and a hindrance in the

way

of employing the strength of the will upon

God, by rejoicing in Him alone. can never wholly do unless it

makes

itself

God is

what the

purifies itself

soul

from and

When

all,

if it

that, as I have said,* will be

the soul does not rest here, but

instantly, as soon as the will

joy in

is

blind to joy in the things of sense, for

should rejoice herein at

but vanity.

This

becomes conscious of any

any object of sense, raises itself upwards unto that joy supplying motives thereto

well with

ments, but

it,

profit

it

need not suppress such move by them, and even ought to do so,

and then

may

and power

it

so as to accomplish so holy an. act; for there are souls

whom

sensible objects greatly influence in the

God.

Such

souls,

way

of

however, must be very cautious, and

watch the issues of

very often many themselves in these sensible spiritual persons indulge recreations, under the pretence of giving themselves to this conduct, for

prayer and to God. Now what they do should be called recreation, not prayer, and their pleasure in this is their

own

rather

than God's.

Though

directed to God, yet the effect

the fruit of

it is

is

their intention

sensible recreation,

be

and

weakness and imperfection rather than *

Chap. xx.


THE ASCENT

312

[BOOK

the quickening of the will, and the surrender of

it

III.]

into

the hands of God.

propose here to lay down a rule by which we know when sensible sweetness is profitable, and

3. I

may when

it is

what

is

hearing music, or other agreeable sounds, in smelling sweet odours, in tasting not.

in

Whenever,

delicious, in

touching what

is

soothing, the

an instant unto

affections of the will rise consciously in

God, and that movement gives us more pleasure than the sensible occasion of it, and when we have no pleasure in that cause, but because of

its

and that the objects

profit,

a sign of of sense minister unto that

effects,

is

way we may use them, for now they subserve that end for which God hath made them namely, that He may be the better known and loved on the spirit.

In this

;

whom

Observe, too, that he, in

their account.

sensible

objects produce this purely spiritual effect, does not for

make any account of them, though they excite in him this sense of God neither is he solicitous about them and when they are present, that reason seek them, nor

;

;

them and abandons

the will passes instantly beyond fixing itself

them,

upon God.

The reason why he

4.

attaches no

these motives, although they keep

God, all,

is

that the

to fly

mind

upwards

to

is

end,

it

:

and

God, so

if it

filled,

God

way

of

pre-occupied, and

as to

immediately passes on beyond

On

in the

want or desire

should desire anything for that

thinks nothing more about b.

him

so prompt, in and through

satiated with the Spirit of

nothing more

importance to

the other hand, he

it,

forgets

it,

and

it.

who

is

not conscious of this


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XXIV.J

313

amid sensible objects and sweetness, but whose will rests and feeds upon them, ought to make no such usage of them, for they will be hurtful to him. For liberty of spirit,

though such an one may employ his reason about them, and in that way labour to make them subserve his

advancement;

spiritual

delights in

them

because

still,

in the

way

the

appetite

of sense, and because the

corresponds always with the pleasure which they minister, it is certain that they are a greater hindrance effect

than help, a greater evil than benefit.

And when he

sees that the spirit of these recreations reigns over him,

he ought to mortify it for the stronger it grows, the greater will be his imperfections and weakness. ;

Every satisfaction, therefore, whether accidental or designed, which proceeds from the senses, the spiritual 6.

man must

use only for God, carrying up unto

joy of his soul, so that

it

may be

Him

that

and perfect not founded on the

profitable

;

remembering that every joy, which is denial and annihilation of all joy whatever, however vanity and without profit, and a hindrance to the union of the will with God.

noble

it

may seem

to be,

is

CHAPTER XXIV. The

evils

which

befall

the

soul

when

the

will

has joy in

sensible goods.

IN the first place, if the soul does not quench the joy which proceeds from sensible things, by directing it to God, all those evils in general, of which I have spoken, also from this joy in the fruit of every kind of joy, flow


THE ASCENT

314

[BOOK

III.]

namely, obscuration of reason, lukeBut to descend warmness, spiritual sloth and the like. sensible things

:

to particulars,

are the evils, spiritual

into

straightway

many which men may

fall

and

bodily,

through this joy in

sensible things. 1.

Joy in visible things, when we do not deny our

selves therein for the sake of God, produces directly a spirit of vanity, distraction of mind, unruly

want of modesty, interior and impure thoughts and envyings.

The joy which

2.

concupiscence,

exterior

restlessness,

the hearing of unprofitable things

produces, begets directly distraction of the imagination, gossiping, envy, rash judgments,

from which

and changing thoughts,

many and other ruinous

evils flow.

Joy in sweet odours begets a loathing of the poor which is contrary to the doctrine of Christ, a dislike of 3.

ministering unto

others,

humble deeds, and

an unhearty submission

to

spiritual insensibility, at least pro

portional to the appetite for this joy.

Joy in meat and drink produces directly gluttony and drunkenness, anger, discord, and uncharitableness 4.

towards our neighbour and the poor, and makes us like who neglected Lazarus, while he him

the rich glutton self

'

feasted sumptuously every day.'*

From

this arise

bodily disorders, sickness, and evil impulses, because It is the the provocations of luxury are increased. source directly of great spiritual torpor, and vitiates the desire for spiritual things,

so that the soul

has

no

pleasure in them, cannot even endure them, nor in any

way occupy

itself

about them. *

St.

Luke

This joy,

xvi. 19.

too, dissipates


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxrv.] all

315

the other senses and the heart, and creates a feeling of

general discontent. 5. Joy in matters of touch occasions

more

hurtful

evils,

much

greater and

which most rapidly immerse the all energy and

senses and hurt the mind, destroying vigour.

Hence the abominable

provocations to luxuriousness,

senses

it,

in proportion to this joy.

It

makes the mind effeminate and

delicate

wickedness.

sin of effeminacy, or the

It

and yielding, disposed fills

the

for

produces timid, the sin

and

heart with

empty rejoicing, and the eyes wanton, and renders the other senses dull and heavy according to

makes the tongue

licentious,

the measure of its strength.

It

confounds the judgment,

it in folly and spiritual stupidity, it begets and inconsistency of purpose, and by cowardice moral reason of the soul's darkness and heart's weakness,

and buries

makes men

fear even

where no fear

It creates at

is.

times a spirit of confusion, insensibility of mind and conscience,

and so enfeebles the reason that a man can

neither take good counsel nor give

it

;

it

incapacitates

moral and spiritual good, rendering vessel. a broken useless as the soul for

all

it

All these evils flow from this particular joy. In some people more, in others fewer, more or less intense, 6.

according to the intenseness of this joy, and according

weakness and irresolution of him who indulges himself in it. For there are some people who naturally to the

are 7.

more hurt on

slight,

than others on great, occasions.

Finally, the evils into

which men

fall

through the

joy of the touch are as numerous as those occasioned that of natural goods.

As

I

by

have already described


THE ASCENT

316

[BOOK

HI.]

them, I shall not repeat them here, nor many others also, such as the diminution of spiritual exercises and of corporal penances, lukewarmness, and indevotion in the use of the sacraments of penance, and of the eucharist.

CHAPTER XXV. The

spiritual

and temporal benefits of

self-denial in the joy in

sensible things.

MARVELLOUS

benefits result from self-denial in the joy

which sensible goods supply; some are

some temporal. 1. The soul, by refraining from joy

and

spiritual

in sensible objects,

recovers itself from the distractions into which

it

falls

through the excessive indulgence of the senses, and

God.

recollects itself in

virtues are preserved 2.

The second

Spirituality

and the acquired

and increased.

spiritual

benefit of not rejoicing in

great; and we may say, of a truth, that the sensual becomes spiritual, the animal rational, sensible goods

that

the

who

is

man leads an angelical life, that the temporal and human become heavenly and divine. As the man seeks for pleasure in sensual things, and founds

his joy

upon them, ought

called by any other

animal the

;

so the

not,

and deserves

not, to

all

be

name than

this, namely, sensual and whose joy is beyond them, deserves

man

name of spiritual and heavenly. This is most evidently

true, for as the

energies of the senses, and the power of

sensuality, resist, as the Apostle saith, the

power of the

'

spirit,

energy and

the flesh lusteth against the

spirit,


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. xxv.J

and the

against the flesh

spirit

the flesh diminish and

and increase

been taken away.

*

so

when

the forces of

those of the spirit

fail,

that which

;

' ;

317

impeded

Thus the

their

spirit

grow

growth having

made

higher portion of the soul, and that to which the

God are made made perfect by

munications of

because

it is

the

perfect

com

merits those appellations, the spiritual and heavenly

and graces of God. We have the authority of Paul for this he calls the sensual man the man

gifts

St.

;

who wastes

the energy of his will upon objects of sense

the animal man, and the other,

God, the spiritual

man

' :

whose

will is fixed

The animal man perceiveth But

not these things that are of the spirit of God. the

man

spiritual

on

judgeth

all

The

things/ f

receives in this self-denial an admirable benefit position meet to receive the gifts

and

;

soul

a dis

spiritual graces oi

God. 3.

The

third benefit is the great increase of the joys

and pleasures of the saith

' :

They

will in this life

shall receive

;

for,

as our Saviour

an hundredfold.'*

If thou wilt

deny thyself one joy, our Lord will reward thee a hundred fold, spiritually and temporally, in this world and for one ;

joy indulged in sensible

sorrows and all

afflictions.

goods thou shalt have a hundred As to the eye, now purged from

joy in seeing, the soul receives joy, directed to God, As to the is seen, whether human or divine.

in all that

purged from all joy in hearing, the soul receives joy a hundredfold, and that most spiritual, directed to God ear,

*

Galat.

v.

17.

Cor.

ii.

14, 15.

t

I

t

St.

Matt. xix. 29.

Aniuialis

autem homo

mm

percipit,


THE ASCENT

318 in all that

is

[BOOK

heard, whether human or divine.

The same

For as

observation applies to the other senses.

III.]

all

that

our first parents said and did in the state of innocence in paradise furnished them with

means of sweeter contem

plation, because their sensual nature

was ordered

by,

and subject unto, reason, so he also whose senses are subject to the spirit and purged from all sensible objects, in their first motions, elicits delight of sweet

knowledge

and contemplation of God. 4.

To

fitable,

the pure, therefore, high things and low are pro

and minister

to his greater purity

;

while both the

one and the other are occasions of greater evil to the impure, by reason of his impurity. But he who does not repress the satisfaction of his appetites will never enjoy

the ordinary tranquillity of rejoicing in God, through the

instrumentality of His creatures and His works. functions

and powers of his

senses,

who no

All the

longer lives

after the flesh, are directed to divine contemplation. For,

as is

a philosophical truth that the

it is

in

harmony with

its constitution,

contradiction clear, that he

who

is

life

of every creature

so also

is it

beyond all spiritually minded

must be wholly tending his actions and affections are those

his animal life being mortified

towards God, for of the spiritual finds in

all

delicious,

all

life.

Such an

things

sweet,

that

chaste,

one, therefore, pure in heart,

knowledge of God which is pure, spiritual, joyous, and

loving.

From these considerations I come to this conclusion, that, until we have so habituated our senses to this purga 5.

tion from sensible joy, as to

which

I

have obtained the benefit of

have spoken, namely, that instant movement


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxv.]

upwards

to God,

joy, that

we may

am

afraid, that

we

319

need to deny ourselves in all wean our soul from the life of sense. I still

when not thoroughly

we

spiritualised,

may gratify and invigorate the senses, rather than the the powers spirit under the influence of sensible things ;

of sense

ruling over us in our conduct, whereby

still

is

sensuality

increased, maintained,

words of our Saviour are flesh is flesh

;

Lay

spirit.'*

who has

' :

and nourished.

That which

and that which

is

this to heart, for

it

is

The

born of the

born of the Spirit is Let him is the truth.

not mortified his senses in sensible things not

presume to avail himself of the energy and functions

of

thinking that they will help him to become for the strength of the soul will increase the spiritual

sense,

;

more by casting the things of sense aside that is, by the quenching of joy and desire, more than by any ;

employment of them that we can make. 6.

It is

not necessary for

of glory attainable in the

me to

life

speak now of the goods

to come.

For beside that the

bodily gifts of mobility and clarity, in glory, will be

much

grander than in those who have not denied themselves in this joy, there will be an increase of essential glory, corresponding to their love of God, for whom they have left all things because every momentary and fleeting ;

joy, which we now deny, will, as St. Paul has said, work in us eternally an infinite weight of glory That which '

:

is

at present

momentary and

light of our tribulation,

worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory. 'f 7. I

do not *

St.

refer here to the other benefits,

John

iii.

6.

t 2 Cor.

iv.

17.

moral


THE ASCENT

320

temporal and

III.]

spiritual, the fruits ot this

for they are all

night of joy those already described, and in a higher

order, because these joys are

our nature, and, therefore, he acquires a

[BOOK

more

v

more intimately

who

related to

denies himself in them

interior purity thereby.

CHAPTER XXVI. The

moral goods. lawfully rejoice in them.

fourth kind of goods

THE

fourth

:

How

the will

may

kind of goods in which the will rejoices By these I mean virtues, the moral

are moral goods.

habits of them, the practice of any virtue whatever,

works of mercy, keeping the law of God and of the

state,

good dispositions and temper. These moral goods, in possession and in practice deserve, perhaps, more than the other three kinds I have mentioned, that the will

should rejoice in them.

Man may rejoice

in these for

one of two reasons, or for both together, either because they are what they are, or because of the benefits which they bring with them, of which they are, as it were, instruments or means. Now the possession of the three other kinds of goods for of

is

deserving of no joy whatever

themselves they do good to no man, neither

them, for they are fleeting and

frail,

is it

in

yea, rather they are

the occasions of pain and grief and sorrow of heart.

Even

they deserved to be rejoiced in for the second reason, namely, that man may employ them towards if

raising his soul in

up

to God, yet this is so uncertain that

general such rejoicing does more

harm than good.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxvi.] 2.

321

Moral goods, however, deserve some joy on the part

And

of their possessor, for their intrinsic worth.

as they

bring with them in their train peace and tranquillity, the right use of reason, and a consistent conduct, man can

humanly speaking, possess anything better in this world. And as virtues merit love and esteem, for their not,

humanly speaking, men may well rejoice in the possession and practice of them, for what they are

own

sakes,

in themselves,

and

for the good,

human and

temporal, of

which they are the channels. 3.

It

was

men and

in this sense that the philosophers

princes of old esteemed and

laboured to acquire

it

and

commended

to practise

were heathens, and regarded

it

and wise

it,

virtue,

though they

only in a worldly light,

but the temporal, bodily, and natural benefits which resulted from it. They not only obtained seeing nothing in

it

those benefits, and the reputation they aimed

more than

this

;

God

Himself,

Who

at,

but

loves all goodness,

even in heathens and barbarians, and Who hinders no good, as it is written, 'which nothing hindereth, beneficent,'

*

increased

dominion, and peace.

He

their

substance,

thus dealt with the

honours,

Romans

:

because they enacted good laws, He made them masters almost of the whole world He recompensed, for their good customs in a temporal way, those who, because of ;

were incapable of the everlasting reward. God loves these moral goods for when Solomon asked

their unbelief,

:

for

wisdom

rule

them

good,

He

that he might teach his people,

and be able

to

bringing them up in customs that were was so pleased with his prayer that He said justly,

Wisd.

vii,

22.


THE ASCENT

322

unto him

< :

Because thou hast asked

[BOOK

III.J

this thing,

and

hast not asked for thyself long life or riches, nor the lives of thy enemies, but hast asked for thyself wisdom to discern judgment, behold

....

according to thy words,

have done

I

for

thee

and the things also

yea,

which thou didst not ask, I have given thee, to wit, riches and glory, so that no one hath been like thee

among 4.

the kings in

Though a

goods, and

all

days heretofore/

*

Christian, too, ought to rejoice in moral

in the

good works he

does, because they

minister to his temporal well-being, his joy ought not to stop there where that of the heathens did,

nothing beyond this mortal

life

;

who saw

but inasmuch as he has

by which he hopes for everlasting life, and without which all things whatever are valueless, his

the light of faith,

and chief rejoicing should be of the second kind, namely, that eternal life is the reward and issue of the sole

good works he does and all his joy ought

for the love of

to

God.

All his care

be that he serves and honours

God by his virtues and good

life.

For without

this in

tention all our virtues are worthless in the sight of God, as

we

are taught in the parable of the ten virgins.

All

these had preserved their virginity and had wrought good works, yet five of them, whose joy therein was not

of the second kind, directed unto God, but rather of the first,

for they rejoiced

and gloried

in

mere possession,

were denied admission into heaven, unacknowledged and unrewarded by the Bridegroom.t 5.

persons in the world of had some virtue and did good works ;

There have been

old times *

who

3 Kings

iii.

many

II, IJ.

t

St.

Matt. xxv.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxvi.]

323

and there are many Christians also at this time, who are virtuous men, and who do great things, but their virtue

and good works are

utterly useless

in the

matter of

because they do not, in them, seek the honour and glory and love of God solely, and above all eternal

life

:

A Christian ought to rejoice, not

things.

good works and virtuous

life,

because of his

but because his

acts are such solely for the love of God,

and

for

life

and

no other

For as work done only for God's honour will have a greater reward of glory, so good works which men do under the influence of other con reason whatever.

siderations, will

of God. rejoicing

the

end

in our greater confusion in the sight

The Christian, therefore, if he will direct his to God in moral goods, must keep in mind, that

value

of his good works, fasting, almsgiving, and penances, prayers, does not depend on their number and nature, but on the love which moves him to per

form them for God perfect

when they

and that they are then most

;

are wrought in the most pure and

sincere love of God,

and with the

least regard to our

own

present and future interests, to joy and sweetness, consolation and praise. The heart, therefore, must not

on the joy, comfort, delight, and advantages which holy habits and good works bring with them, but refer

rest

all to

God, purifying

from

it

itself

from

all joy,

and hiding

itself

and desiring that God only may does in secret, and all this without

in darkness;

rejoice in

what

it

respect to any other consideration than God's honour

and

glory.

Thus

all

the strength of the will,

regard to moral goods, will be God. va

all

with

concentrated in


THE ASCENT

324

CHAPTER Seven

evils

to which

men

[BOOK

III.J

XXVII.

are liable

the will rejoices in

if

moral goods.

THE

principal

which men become exposed of the will in good works

to

evils

through the rejoicing and a virtuous life are seven in number, and most I shall now give a hurtful, because they are spiritual 1

;

brief description of 2.

The

first

is

them

:

vanity,

vain glory, and pre

pride,

sumption, for no man can rejoice in his without attributing a great value to them. springs boasting and other faults

we have fasts 3.

in the Pharisee

who

own works From this

an instance of which

;

in his prayer boasted of his

and the other good works he was doing.

The second

connected with the

evil is generally

we come

judge others, and to pronounce them to be comparatively wicked and im perfect, and their good works to be inferior to ours we

first,

and

it is

this

:

to

;

despise them

and sometimes express our selves contemptuously about them. The Pharisee had fallen into this also, for in his prayers he said, O God, I in our hearts,

l

give Thee thanks, that I

am

not as the rest of men,

extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican I fast twice in

a week.'*

Thus by one

act he

fell

;

into

these two evils, namely, self-esteem and contempt of others, as

many do

one. neither

is

my

daily, life

who

say, I

such as

his.

are even worse than the Pharisee *

St.

Luke

;

am

not like such an

Yea,

many

of them

he certainly despised

xviii. II, 12.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxvii.] others '

325

and pointed out the object of his contempt,

they, indeed, are not satisfied with this*

to

anger and envy when they hear others

this publican

but give

way

saying-,

:'

praised, or that they are doing more, or are

more

useful

men, than themselves.

The

4.

third evil

satisfaction in their

is that,

as they look for their

own do

works, they will in general

good

only such as will furnish them with this satisfaction, or obtain for them the commendation of others. They do all their

men,' 5.

God

*

works, as our Saviour saith,

and not

The

God

for

'

for to

alone.

fourth evil issues out of the third,

will not

be seen of

reward them

for their

and

is this

:

good works, because

they seek it here in this world, in the joy, or the comfort, or the honourable advantages of their good works of ;

them our Saviour

saith,

'Amen.

have received their reward/ f

I

They

say to you, they

will therefore

have

nothing but their labour, and confusion of face without The children of men are so miserably its reward. involved in this evil that, in

my

opinion, the greater

part of the good works, which are publicly done, are either vicious or worthless, or imperfect and defective in

God's sight, because men do not detach themselves from What other self-interest and from human respect.

we form of those good works, which men do, monuments which they raise, but which would

opinion can or of the

have been undone and unbuilt, if their authors had not been influenced by worldly honour, human respect, and the vanity of this

life

order to perpetuate a *

St.

Matt,

Is not all this too often

?

name

xxiii. 5.

done in

or a pedigree, or to t

Ib.

vi.

2.

mark


THE ASCENT

326

authority and lordship

up armorial bearings

;

and that

[BOOK

to the extent of setting

in churches, as if they

blish themselves there as

III.]

images

would esta

for the veneration of

men At the sight of these good works of some people, we may well say that men respect themselves more than ?

God. 6.

But passing from these who are the worst, how many who in their good works fall into these evils in

are there

many ways

Some

?

expect their good works to be

extolled, others expect gratitude for them, others

enume

and delight in the fact that such and such persons, and even the whole world are aware of them rate them,

;

sometimes they will employ a third person to convey their alms, or to do any other good work, in order to make it the more known some, too, look both for praise ;

and reward.

This

nothing else but to sound a like vain men, but whom God for

is

trumpet in the streets, that reason will never reward.* 7.

If men wish to avoid this evil they

must hide

their

good works so that God alone shall see them, and they must not wish any one to think much of them. They must hide them not only from others, but from them they must take no satisfaction in them nor regard them with complacency, as if they selves also; that

is,

This is the meaning of thought them of any value. those words of our Saviour Let not thy left hand know '

:

what thy right hand doth.'f That is, do not look with temporal and carnal eyes upon thy spiritual works. When observed, the strength of the will is concentrated in God, and our good works become fruit-

this precept is *

St.

Matt.

vi. 2.

T

Jb. vi. 3.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. xxvii.J

327

His sight but where it is not observed, we shall not only lose our labour, but, very frequently, because of our interior boasting and vanity, sin grievously against God. Those words of Job also are to be understood in ful in

;

this sense

and

I

.... my

:' If

have kissed

heart in secret hath rejoiced,

hand with

my

which

my mouth,

a

is

'

Here the hand means our good works, and mouth our will which regards them with complacency. This is self-complacency, for the words '

very great iniquity/* '

'

of Job

which

if

are, is

'heart hath

my

secret

be God's from

Whom

there.

The

evil

progress in the

is,

way

all

who

that

men

it

pleasure and comfort cease

dry bread, which

is

make no

for cleaving to the

;

which

seeks their advancement,

to

to himself.

of this kind

of perfection

to

rejoiced in himself,

when

pleasure and comfort of their good works,

when God

attribute

deny them good works proceed, and

example of Lucifer,

fifth

To

to

is

denying to God what was His, arrogating 5.

rejoiced,'

a 'great iniquity, and a denial against the

Most High God/ as it is said our good works to ourselves follow the

in

is

this

usually the case

when He

gives

the bread of the perfect,

them

when He

deprives them of the milk of babes, when He tries their strength, and purifies their delicate appetites, so that

they

may be

able to taste the food of the strong

become generally because their pleasure.

To

fail to

they

persevere,

good works are no longer sources of this

we may apply

those words of the wise

man

sweetness of the ointment.'f Job

and

faint of heart,

xxxi. 26, 28.

' :

in

a spiritual sense

Dying

flies

spoil the

For when mortifications t Eccles.

x. I


THE ASCENT

328

come

in their

to persevere

and

spiritual sweetness

The

9.

III.]

they die to their good works, abandon

way

them, and cease

[BOOK

sixth evil

is

:

it is

in perseverance that

interior comfort consist.

that

men

are generally deceiving

considering those works wherein they find delight to be of greater importance than those wherein

themselves

;

they find none

they praise and esteem the former, but

:

despise and reject the latter; yet those works, generally, in

which a

man

not advanced

most mortified

is

in

perfection

precious in the eyes of God,

especially

are

when he

is

more pleasing and

by reason

of that self-denial

involved in their performance, than those good works in

which he finds consolation, where self-seeking so easily intrudes. '

*

The

they call good

say

is

evil of their hand,' '*

that

;

And

good.

their joy from their

God

only.

is,

what

is evil

saith the prophet, in their

work they

they come to this because they derive good works, and not from pleasing

The extent

of this

evil,

minded men as well as ordinary

among

spiritually

Christians, baffles all

any one can be found who doeth the love of God, without relying on

description, for scarcely

good simply for some advantage of joy or comfort, or of some other consideration.

The seventh

man, so far as he does moral good works, is the more incapable of listening to reasonable counsel and instruc tion with reference to his duties. The habitual weakness 10.

not suppress

all

evil is that

joy in

by doing good works with an eye to this empty joy, so fetters him that he cannot accept the advice given him as the best, or if he does so accept it contracted

*

Mich.

vii.

3.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

CHAP. XXVIII.]

[

329

The he cannot act upon it, through lack of resolution. love of God and of our neighbour is greatly weakened in these persons, for their self-love, which they indulge with reference to their

in

own good works, makes

charity cold.

CHAPTER The

VERY is

XXVIII.

benefits of repressing all joy in moral goods.

great benefits result to the soul, provided the will

restrained from vainly rejoicing in moral goods.

the

first

it

place,

is

delivered from

many

In

temptations

which rejoicing in our good works secretly involves, as we learn from these words of God to He sleepeth under the shadow, in the covert of Job

and

illusions of Satan,

'

:

the reed, and in moist places.' *

This applies to the evil spirit, for he deceives the soul in the moisture of joy and in the hollow of the reed, that is, of good works done

Nor

through vanity.

is it

strange that the devil should

it secretly in this rejoicing for, independently of the devil's suggestion, this empty joy is a delusion itself, especially when a feeling of boasting lurks in the

deceive

;

heart, as

it

is

written,

thee and the pride of

'Thy arrogancy hath deceived thy heart.' f Can there be a

greater delusion than that of boasting delivered from 2.

it

The second

by purifying benefit

is

itself

that our

?

The

soul

is

from this joy.

good works are done

with greater deliberation and in greater perfection. If the passion of joy and sweetness prevails, no delibera*

Job

xl.

1

6.

t

Jercin. xlix. 16.


THE ASCENT

330 tion

can be had

their influence

rage and desire are so strong

for then

;

that they will not

bend

[BOOK m.1

to reason

;

and, in general, under

we change our works and

intentions,

hand to-day and another to morrow, beginning everything and bringing nothing to taking one thing in

If joy

be the main-spring of our work, we

good

effect.

shall

be inconsistent

than others

;

some men are naturally more so and when our joy ceases, we abstain also :

rom our work and our resolution, however important hey may be. With people of this kind, joy is the soul and strength of disappears their

good works and when that joy good works perish, and they do not

their

;

These are they of whom Christ saith, that they receive the word with joy, and that the devil takes

persevere.

it

away forthwith

the wayside are they that hear

and taketh the word out of

;

They by

then the devil cometh

their heart, lest believing

That

they should be saved/*

'

may not persevere.

that they

is

because

so,

all

their

strength and support was nothing else but this joy, and therefore to

withdraw the

will

from

it

an admirable

is

preparation for perseverance and final success.

Thir

benefit, then, is as great as is the opposite evil.

The

wise

man

regards the substance and fruit of his labous

not the pleasure and joy which

it

brings

:

he

is

not like

air, but he reaps from his good works a durable joy, without demanding the tribute of delights.

one beating the

3.

The

third benefit

is

by quenching

divine;

this

hollow rejoicing in our works we attain to poverty of Blessed are the spirit, which is one of the beatitudes '

:

poor in

spirit, for theirs is *

St.

Luke

viii. 12.

the

kingdom of heaven.' f t

St.

Matt.

v. 3.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxix.]

The

4.

331

fourth benefit of suppressing this joy

is,

that

and prudent in our doings. a shall do nothing in hurry, carried away by the

we become

We

gentle, humble,

rage and desire of this joy; neither shall we become presumptuous through overvaluing our good works

under the influence of blinded by

The

5.

unto

it

;

we be

nor shall

incautiously

it.

fifth

we

benefit is that

God and man,

shall

become pleasing

delivered from the dominion of

avarice and gluttony, spiritual sloth and envy, and a

thousand other

vices.

CHAPTER XXIX. The

kind of goods, in which the will has joy ; the super Their nature, and the difference between them and

fifth

natural.

spiritual

How

goods.

joy in them

is

to

be directed unto

God.

HAVE now

speak of the the soul rejoices, and which I I

to

fifth

kind of goods in which

call supernatural.

By

these

mean all those gifts and graces of God, which surpass our natural powers and capacities, called by theologians gratis dates such as the gifts of 'wisdom and under I

standing St. Paul,

'*

given to Solomon, and those mentioned by

namely

'

faith, the

grace of healing, working of

and discerning of the interpretation of words, and also the gift

miracles, prophecy, the knowledge spirits,

of tongues.' f

Though

gifts, like those of

owing

these are really also spiritual

which

I

to the great difference *

3 Kings

iv. 29.

am

about to speak,

between them, f

I

Cor.

xii. 9,

I 10.

make

still,

this


THE ASCENT

332

These

iistinction.

("BOOK

III.]

the use of them, have an

gifts, in

immediate reference to the edification of men, and are given by God for that special end, as the Apostle saith, The manifestation of the speaking of these graces '

:

Spirit is given to every

man

5

unto

*

But as

profit.

the spiritual graces, the use and practice of them

is

to

solely

between the soul and God, between God and the soul through the understanding and the will, as I shall show

There

later on.f if

is

The

considered with respect to their object.

concerned with

gifts are

supernatural

gifts,

them

therefore a difference between

God and

with which I have

intended for the edification of others

and consequently the doctrine concerning them their nature,

spiritual

the soul, but the other

;

now

they

to do, are

differ, too, in

in their operations, is

and

therefore of necessity

different also. 2. it is

As to the supernatural gifts and

graces, in this sense,

well to observe, with reference to self-denial in the

matter of empty joy in them, that there are two great blessings in this kind of good, namely, temporal and

The temporal

spiritual.

blessings are the healing of

the sick, giving sight to the blind, the raising of the dead to

life,

the casting out of devils, foretelling of future

make men careful, and

events to

others of this kind.

The

and eternal blessings are, that God is known and served through these works by him who doeth them, and by those for whom and before whom they are spiritual

wrought. 3.

Now

as to the

first

blessing, namely, the temporal

these supernatural acts and wonders merit * i

Cor.

xii. 7.

t Ch.

xxxii. infr.

little

:

or no


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxix.]

333

rejoicing on the part of the soul, for without the spiritual

no

benefit they are of little or

themselves, they are not

men, because of

profit to

means of union with God, but

Moreover, they may be wrought by persons charity not in a state of grace and of charity for they may be either really the work of God, as in Balaam, the impious is.

;

prophet, or the deceitful operations of the devil, as

Simon Magus,

in

or the effects of mere natural but secret

These marvellous works, if any of them profit him who works them, are true, and the gifts of God. causes.

4. St.

Paul tells us what the value of these works is, when

they are not accompanied by the second blessing, saying

men and

'If I speak with the tongues of

.

and

of angels,

am become as sounding brass, or a And if I should have prophecy, and

have not charity, I tinkling cymbal.

know

should

should have tains,

all

mysteries and

all faith,

and have not

all

knowledge, and

so that I could

am

I

charity,

if I

remove moun

Many

nothing.'*

men who have thought much of their own good works, when asking to be admitted unto His glory, will say, and done Have not we prophesied in Thy name many miracles in Thy name ?' Christ our Redeemer '

.

will

answer

' :

Depart

from

Me,

you

.

.

work

that

iniquity. 'f 5.

Man,

therefore,

ought

to

rejoice,

possession and exercise of these derives from

serving

God

everlasting

I

life.

Cor.

in

the

but in that he

them the second in true charity,

they returned to *

gifts,

not

xiii.

spiritual fruit, namely, wherein consists the fruit of

Our Lord rebuked His

Him I, a.

disciples

when

with joy because they had power T

St. Matt. vii. 22, 23.


THE ASCENT

334 over evil

'

spirits,

saying,

are subject unto you

:

Rejoice not in

but rejoice in

sound theology,

is

:

written in the book of life.

he

this,

The meaning

are written in heaven.'*

ing to

[BOOK

Rejoice,

Man,

if

III.]

this, that spirits

that your

names

of which, accord

your names are

therefore,

ought not to

walking in the right way, doing his For of what profit is anything in the sight of God which is not His love ? Now that love cannot be perfect if it is not strong enough and

rejoice, unless

good works

is

in charity.

wise enough to purify

and

to find

this

way

itself

from

all

joy in these things,

only in doing the will of God. It is in that the will is united to God by the help of it

these supernatural goods.

CHAPTER XXX. The

evils

resulting from the will's rejoicing

in

this

kind of

goods.

HE who

rejoices

in

supernatural goods

opinion, into three principal evils.

2.

As

to the

it is

first,

and others by rejoicing

The reason

of that

in

Deceit and

and other

deceit, loss of faith, vain glory,

falls,

my self-

vanities.

very easy to deceive oneself

in these supernatural operations.

is

this

:

order

in

to

ascertain

whether they are true or false, how and when they are to be exerted, great deliberation and great light from

God are necessary. Now our rejoicing in, and esteeming, these operations, are a great hindrance to this, partly because the joy in question dulls and obscures the judgment, and partly also because *

St.

Luke

x. 20.

it

makes us not only


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxx.]

335

covet these operations extremely, but also inclines us to

an unseasonable manifestation of them.

Admitting even that these operations and powers be real, yet these two defects are enough to delude us either we do :

not comprehend them as they ought to be compre hended, or we do not profit by them and employ them at

For though

the right time and in the right way.

when He

true that God,

distributes these

graces, gives also the light to see them,

movement

way

right

still

;

self-seeking or

may

them

to manifest

fall into

those

who

gifts

be

and

and the inward

at the right time

and

in the

receive them, because of their

some imperfection or other

great errors,

it

by not using

in the matter,

their gifts with

which God requires with respect to time We have an example in Balaam, who,

that perfectness

and manner.

contrary to the will of God, undertook to curse the

people of Israel.

and sought

God was

to kill him.*

John, who, carried

therefore

Again, in

away by

angry with him, St. James and St.

their zeal,

would have

fire

descend from heaven they refused to them.t 3.

It

whom

is

upon the Samaritans, because receive our Lord. For this He rebuked

clear from

am

this

that imperfect persons, of

be influenced by certain imperfect feelings involved in the joy and esteem of these gifts, to manifest them at an improper time. For I

speaking,

may

when they are free from the like are moved to manifest them only wills; in

no other way

This

right. *

Num.

is

the

is

and when, God the manifestation of them

meaning of

xxii. 22, 23.

imperfections, they as,

that complaint which t

S.

Luke

ix. 54.


THE ASCENT

336

God makes by

the

prophets, saying

ran

I

;

And

* :

[BOOK

mouth of Jeremias against

III.]

certain

did not send prophets, yet they

I

have not spoken

to them, yet they prophesied.' *

They cause my people to err by their lying, wonders when I sent them not, nor com manded them.' t It is said in the same place also that they prophesied the delusions of their own heart, which they would not have done had they not attached them selves in this abominable way to their gifts, using them again

and by

:

their

;

as their own. 4.

All this shows us that the evil of such rejoicing not

men

only leads

to

make an impious and perverse usage Balaam and those prophets who,

of the gifts of God, like

by the wonders which they wrought, deceived the people; but even to make use of them without having received them from God,

like those

who

uttered their

own

fancies

and published visions wnich themselves invented, or which the devil represented to them. For when Satan sees nen with such dispositions as these, he for prophecies,

opens for them r. wide field, and supplies them with abundant materials, intruding liimself in diverse ways :

whereupon such men spread their sails to the wind, become shamelessly presumptuous, and prodigal in the usage of their great 5.

The

gifts,

gifts.

does not stop here, for joy in supernatural and the desire of them, reach so far that, if men evil

have entered into a secret compact with Satan it is such a compact that enables many to do what they are doing

they venture

still

further,

and enter

into

and avowed compact, making themselves his *

Jerem.

xxiii.

21.

t

Ib. 32*

an open disciples


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxx.j

and

allies

wizards,

by an express

337

Hence come and soothsayers,

stipulation.

enchanters,

magicians, This joy leads men so far, that they seek to purchase with money, not only these gifts and graces, as did Simon Magus, that they may serve the devil, but sorcerers.

holy things also, and things divine.

How hurtful

I

cannot write

May God

to themselves,

are such men,

it

without trembling

here show His great mercy and ruinous to Christendom :

any one may

easily perceive.

All those

magicians and soothsayers among the people of Israel, whom Saul destroyed out of the land,* had fallen into these great abominations and delusions, because they would imitate the true prophets of God. 6.

tJ

He who is

supernaturally endowed ought, therefore,

cleanse himself from

all desire of,

and from

the exercise of his supernatural gifts

gives them supernaturally

for the

Church, in general, or of

members,

also supernaturally direct

right

His

way and

its

him

;

all

joy

and God,

edification

in,

Who

of the

in particular, will

in the use of them, in the

As He commanded no thought beforehand how or

at the right time.

disciples to take

what they should speak, f that being a supernatural act of faith, so also is it His will the use of these gifts being of not less importance that man should bide His time, because the exercise of these gifts is to depend

upon His will. Thus the disciples, in whom these gifts and graces were infused, prayed God, nevertheless, to put forth His hand, that they might work miracles and heal the sick and thereby plant the faith of Jesus Christ

our Lord in the hearts of * i

w

Kings

men

xxviii.

3.

* :

t

Grant unto Thy servants S.

Mark

xiii.

n.


THE ASCENT

338

that with all confidence they

Thy hand

stretching forth

wonders

may

[BOOK

may

to cures

speak

III.J

Thy Word, by

and that signs and

;

be done by the name of Thy Holy Son

Jesus.'* 7. first,

The second and

this in

of faith,

evil, loss

two ways. The

when a man undertakes

first

may come from

the

concern others

for

;

to perform a miracle, out of

season, and without necessity

over and above that this

tempt God, which is a great sin he may not succeed, and so the faith will lose credit and reverence is

to

Though sometimes men may succeed in what they thus attempt, because God wills it for some reason or other, as in the case of the witch of Endor if it be true that it was Samuel himself who then and when appeared they shall not always succeed

among men.

;

they do succeed, they are not the less in error and blameable, because they use their gifts when they ought not. 8.

The second concerns him who uses

he ought not

;

these gifts

when

he injures himself because he loses the

For when men attach so much impor

merit of faith.

tance to miracles, they exercise of faith,

which

depart is

from

the substantial

an obscure habit

;

and thus

where signs and miracles abound, there is the less merit ' Faith has no merit,' saith S. Gregory the

in believing.

Great,

*

where human reason

supplies

proof.'f

God

works miracles when they are necessary for the faith, or For this for other ends of His glory, and of His saints. reason did

God work many

Himself to

His disciples;

*

Acts

iv.

29,

30.

signs, before

that

they

t Horn.

He showed

might believe

26, in Evangel.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxx.]

339

without seeing, and so not lose the merit of faith in His resurrection, which they would have done had they seen

Him

He showed

first.

to

Mary Magdalene

the

first

empty sepulchre, and then the angels, at His bidding, announced His rising again;* for 'Faith cometh by hearing/ f so that having heard, she might believe And when He showed Himself unto before she saw. it

her,

edify

was as the gardener, + that He might thoroughly her in the faith, which was failing her in the

warmth

He

of His presence.

He had

His disciples that

sent the

risen;

women

to tell

and afterwards they

He set on fire the hearts of the disciples on the road to Emmaus before they knew Him for He was with them in disguise. And finally, He rebuked them all because they did not believe those

came

to see the sepulchre.

;

and in particular, who told them of His resurrection St. Thomas because he would have palpable proof oi ;

||

Blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed/ H God is not pleased when '

His resurrection

miracles

saying

are sought, for

He

rebuked the Pharisees

because they would not believe without them, saying 'Unless you see signs and wonders, you believe not.'**

:

Those, therefore, inflict

gifts,

who

will rejoice in these supernatural

upon themselves a grievous

loss

in

the

matter of faith. 9.

The

third evil

is

that men, because of their rejoicing

some

in supernatural gifts, fall into vain-glory or

vanity. *

The mere

St.

John

xx. 2

J

St.

John

xx. 15.

U

St.

Luke

;

St.

act of rejoicing in them, xxiv. 6. t Rom. x. 17.

not purely

Luke

St.

xxiv. 15, 26.

IT St.

* *

W2

if

othef

St.

John

Matt, xxviii. 10

John

iv.

48.

xx. 29.

;

St.

John

xx.

3


THE ASCENT

340 in

and

for

God,

is

This

vanity.

Lord rebuked His

our

that

[BOOK

III.]

evident from the

is

far,

disciples, because they were subject unto them.*

rejoiced in that the evil spirits

had not been vanity, our Lord would never

If that joy

have rebuked them for

it.

CHAPTER XXXI. The

benefits of self-denial in the joy of supernatural graces.

BY denying

itself in this joy,

the soul gains two great

from those three

benefits besides its deliverance

The

already described.

God

first

and the second

exalts God,

that

is is

it

magnifies and

the exaltation of itself

exalted in the soul in two ways.

is

evils

Firstly,

when

the heart and the joy of the will are withheld from all that

is

not God, and fixed upon

meaning

of

David

in the

Him

This

alone.

words already referred

is

to

the

when

began to speak of the night of this power of the will,t which are these Man shall come to a deep heart, and I

'

:

God all

shall

be exalted

'

+ for if the heart

;

be exalted above

things, the soul will be exalted above

And

them

also.

it thus fixes itself upon God alone, God is and exalted magnified, making known to the soul His own magnificence and greatness for, in this elevation

because

;

of joy,

He

testifieth of

Himself,

cannot be done unless the will supernatural I *

am St.

God,'

Luke

x.

20.

gifts,

as

it is

and again, t Ch.

xv.

*

Who He

emptied of

is

'

written,

Be

still,

Ps.

Now all

this

joy in

and see that

In a desert land, and where

above

:

but there

is

no mention there

words.

J

is.

Ixiii. 7, 8.

Ts. xlv. II.

of thoss


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XXXI.J there I

is

341

no way, and no water, so in the sanctuary have to see Thy power and glory.'*

come before Thee,

As God,

2.

therefore,

is

exalted,

when our joy is things, much more

grounded on our detachment from all He exalted when we refrain from joy in His most marvellous works to place it in Him alone for these

is

;

graces are of a higher nature by reason of their super natural character, and therefore to detach ourselves from

them

to rejoice in

God

alone, is to give greater

honour

and glory to God than to them for the more numerous and important are the things we disregard for the sake of another, the more we esteem and magnify him. ;

Besides, is

God

withdrawn from these

wonders, that our

gifts

:

for

Him without regard to signs and the more is He exalted in the soul seeing faith in Him is higher, than the teaching of

God and

in

way when the will the more we believe

exalted in the other

is

serve

:

signs and wonders. 3.

for

The second benefit is the

from rejoicing in signs and exalted in most pure faith wh/^h

by withholding the

wonders, the soul

God

infuses into

increases also at virtues, charity

is

exaltation of the soul itself;

will

and increases most abundantly. He the same time the two other theological

it

and hope.

Here the

soul has the fruition

knowledge through the obscure of the delights of love and detached habit of faith

of the highest divine

;

through charity, whereby the will rejoices in nothing but in the living

God

through hope. essentially

and

soul with God.

;

and of the

All this

is

satisfaction of the will

a wonderful benefit which

directly tends to the perfect union of the *

Ps.

Ixii. 3.


THE ASCENT

342

[BOOK

III.]

CHAPTER XXXII. The

kind of goods in which the

sixth

The

THE

first

Their nature.

book being the guiding of the

my

chief object of

will rejoices.

division of them.

through these spiritual goods to the divine union it will be necessary for me, and for

spirit

of the soul with God,

my reader, now

am

speaking of the sixth kind of these spiritual goods which conduces the most to that end, to bestow particular attention on the matter. For it is

that I

quite certain that there are people who, because of

want of knowledge, make use of

their

spiritual things in

the order of sense only, leaving the spirit empty there

is

scarcely

;

so that

any one, the better part of whose

spirit

not corrupted by sensible sweetness, the water being drunk up before it reaches to the spirit, which is, there

is

fore, left 2.

dry and

With

spiritual

barre'n.

reference then to

goods

I

mean

all

my

subject, I say, that

those that

by move us and help

us in divine things, in the intercourse of the soul with

God, and in the communications of God to the

soul.

begin with the generic difference of these goods, namely, sweet and bitter. Each of these is again speci 3.

I

fically divided.

The sweet goods

are of things clear,

and of things that are not so. The are divided into clear and distinct, and con

distinctly understood, bitter also

fused and obscure. 4.

These

may

also be distinguished according to the

Some, being knowledge, pertain to

powers of the soul. the understanding

;

some, being affections, petrain to


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxxiii.] the will

and

;

others,

343

being imaginary, pertain to the I do not speak of the bitter

For the present

memory.

goods, because they belong to the passive night, and I shall

have to speak of them hereafter.*

I

omit also the

sweet goods of things confused and indistinct that I treat of

them

may

later ;f they relate to the general confused

and loving knowledge wherein consists the union of the soul with God.

when

I

passed

it

over in the second book,+

was distinguishing between the apprehensions of the understanding, reserving it for more careful con I

book of the Dark Night. I now pro ceed to speak of those sweet goods, which are of things

sideration in the

clear

and

distinct.

CHAPTER Of

XXXIII.

the spiritual goods distinctly cognisable by the understanding

and the memory. joy in

The conduct

of the will with respect to

them.

MY labour would be great here if I had now

to treat of

the manifold apprehensions of the understanding and the

memory, teaching how to govern the will with regard rejoicing in them, if I had not already discussed them considerable length in the second

||

and

to

at

the third

in

Having there said how these two powers are to be directed amid these apprehensions to the divine union, and that the same applies to the will also, it fs

book.1I"

not necessary to return to the subject here, *

Dark Night, Bk.

J Ch. ||

Ch.

x.

and

viii.

ii.

ch. v.

t Ibid ch.

xxiii.

and

xxiii.

IT

Bk.

i.

Ch.

xi.

it

being

xiii.

ch. x.

and xv.


THE ASCENT

344

sufficient to repeat that as these

emptied of repress 2.

all

all

[BOOK

two powers are

III.]

to

such apprehensions, so the will also

is

be to

joy whatever in them.

What I have

there said of emptying the

the understanding of

all

memory and

these apprehensions

is

applic

understanding and the other powers cannot admit or reject without the able to the will

;

for seeing that the

intervention of the will,

one

clear that the

it is

same

principle

as well as to the other.

Every

explanation, therefore, that the subject requires

may be

applies to

the

found there, for

all

the evils and dangers there enu

merated will befall the soul all

if it

does not refer unto

God

the joy of the will in these apprehensions.

CHAPTER XXXIV. Of the sweet

EVERYTHING

spiritual

goods which distinctly Their diversities.

affect the will.

that furnishes a distinct joy to the will

be classed under four heads

:

may

motive, provocative, direc

tive,

and

first

of the motive, which are images, pictures of saints,

oratories,

perfective.

I shall

speak of these in order, and

and ceremonies.

In that which relates to images and pictures of saints much vanity and empty joy may be found. For 2.

while they are of great importance in divine service, and

very necessary to move the will to devotion, as is evident from the sanction and use of them by our mother the Church

them

that

is

a reason

why we

to quicken us in our sloth

should profit by

there are

many

people


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxxiv.]

who

rejoice

more

in the painting

345

and decoration of them

than in that which they represent. 3.

The Church ordains

principal ends for the

:

that

is,

moving of the

devotion to them.

the use of images for two

for the

saints,

and

and the quickening of our

will

And

honour of the

so far as they minister to this

end, they are of great profit,

and the use of them

is

neces

Those pictures therefore are to be preferred which are most accurately drawn, and which most effectually sary.

excite the will to devotion

more than the

There are people, as

tions.

;

we ought

to regard this

value, curious workmanship, and decora I

to the curious nature of the

have

said,

image and

who its

look more

value than

they do to the saint it represents. They so squander that inward devotion, which ought to be spiritually directed to the unseen saint, in demonstrations of out

ward

affection

and

curiosity, that the senses are pleased

and delighted, and the love and the joy of the All this is an effectual hindrance there. spirituality,

will rest

to

real

which requires the annihilation of the

affec-

tions in all particular objects. 4.

This

is

clearly visible in that hateful

nowadays by

custom observed

certain persons who, not holding in abhor

rence the vanities of the world, adorn the sacred images with those garments which a frivolous race daily invents for the satisfaction of its

sions.

which

wanton recreations and diver

They clothe the images with those garments them are reprehensible, and which the saints

in

have always held, and

still

hold, in detestation.

It is

thus that they conspire with the devil to procure some sanction for their vanities, involving the saints therein,


THE ASCENT

346

but not without offending

HI.]

them most deeply. The and sound devotion,

that all modest

is

consequence which utterly

[BOOK

rejects every trace of vanity, is

with such

people little more than the elaborate and superfluous decoration of images and curious pictures, to which they

and

are attached

in

which they place their

You

joy.

who are never satisfied with adding image to who reject them ii they are not made after a image, particular pattern, and who must have them arranged see people

in

a

particular

so

order,

as

to

please

meanwhile the devotion of the heart

the

sense;

very slight. They hold to their images as Michas to his idols, who when he lost them ran out of his house crying because they had been taken away;* or as Laban, who made a long is

journey to recover them, and in his anger searched for

them 5.

in the tents of Jacob. t

A

devout

invisible;

few,

man grounds

his devotion chiefly

on the

he requires but few images, and uses but in harmony with divine than

and such as are more

human

fashioning them

and himself upon them, according to the pattern of another age, and the habits of the saints, and not of this so that the fashion with

taste

;

;

may not only not excite the desire, but not even recur to the memory, through the sight of anything

of this world

resembling

it

or appertaining unto

affections entangled

taken from him, he

by is

Neither are his

it.

the images he uses, for

they be not therefore distressed, because if

he seeks within himself the living image, which is Christ crucified, in Whom he desires rather that all things should be taken from him and that *

Judg.

xviii,

23, 24.

all

things should

t Gen.

xxxi. 34.

fail


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxxiv.]

#47

him, even those which seemed most to draw him to God; and even when they are taken away from him he is still

The higher

tranquil.

in perfection of the soul consists amid the privation rather than the

being calm and joyful possession with the desire motives.

Though

possession

devotion

it

of these for

is

and

of,

affection for, these

well to have a pleasure in the

images

and means of greater

which reason we should choose always

those which most promote

yet it is not perfection to be so attached to them as to be sorrowful when they are

taken from us. clings to

Be

it

assured of

this,

the

more the

soul

images or sensible motives the less will

its

devotion and prayers ascend upwards unto God. Though it be true that, because some images are better repre

and more devotional, we may the latter, still it must be, as I am

sentations than others prefer the former to

saying, for that reason only, and there must be, as I have

no kind of attachment or self-seeking in that preference. For if there be anything of that kind, that said,

which has God,

in

to sustain the spirit in its

upward

flight to

forgetfulness of all created things, becomes

wholly the prey of the senses, lost in the pleasure which I should use these things only as a help they furnish. to devotion, but owing to my imperfection, they serve as a hindrance, perhaps not less so than attachment and

any other thing whatsoever. Granting that some excuse for this may be admitted

inclination to 6.

in the matter of images,

because of our inadequate

perception of that detachment and poverty of spirit

which perfection requires,

at least

none can be admitted

in the case of that imperfection so generally practised


THE ASCENT

348

[BOOK

HI.]

with regard to rosaries. You will scarcely meet with anyone who has not some weakness in this matter. Men take care that their rosaries are of a certain workmanship rather than another, of a certain colour or material, and

with particular ornaments. tribute

One

rosary does not con

more than another towards the hearing of our

prayers he is heard who tells his beads in the simplicity and integrity of his heart, not thinking of anything but how he may please God the most and not valuing one :

;

rosary more than another, except only for the indulgences

attached to 7.

Such

it.

the nature of our vain concupiscence,

is

clings to

everything

it

;

is

like

suming the sound wood, in good

What

work.

else

is

the

dry rot

it

con

and bad doing

its

when thou

pleasest thy with a curious rosary, seeking one of a particular make rather than of another, but to rejoice in the instru it,

self

ment

frequentest thou a particular image, not

Why

?

considering whether

God, but whether another pleasing

God

of this kind.

it

stirs

thee up to a greater love of

be more curious or valuable than

thy desire and thy joy were in only, thou wouldst not regard anything It is very vexatious to see spiritual persons

Certainly,

?

it

if

so attached to the fashion

and workmanship of devotional

what is merely motive, given up to the curiosity Such persons are and empty joy which they minister.

objects, to

never

they are perpetually changing one thing spiritual devotion is forgotten amid these

satisfied,

for another

;

sensible means,

men

attaching themselves to them just as

they do to any worldly ornaments slight detriment to their soul.

;

and the

issue is

no


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. xxxv.J

349

CHAPTER XXXV. The

The

subject continued.

ignorance ot some people in the

matter of images. I

HAVE much

regard to

to say of the ignorance of

images

more confidence

so great

;

is

some people with

their folly that they

have

one image than in another, influenced therein solely by their preference of the one over the This conduct on their part implies great ignor other. in

ance of the ways of God, of the service and honour due to

Him Who chiefly

of the suppliant.

regards the

faith,

and interior purity

God sometimes works more

miracles

one image than at another of the same kind though there be a great difference in the workmanship in order at

that the devotion of people

than elsewhere.

The

and grants graces

at

may be excited there more why God works miracles

reason

one image rather than at another

that the strangeness of His intervention

may

stir

is,

up the

slumbering devotions and affections of the faithful. As the sight of the image serves to kindle our devotion, and

makes us persevere in prayer both being means to move God to hear and grant our petitions so before that image, because of our prayers

God

continues to

The

graces.

image

is

and devout

work miracles and

faith

and

devotion

to

affections,

bestow His

with which

regarded passing on to the saint

the

whom

it

represents. 2.

As

to

images then,

let

us never dwell upon the

workmanship they may exhibit, so as to have more confidence in some than in others on that account,

curious


THE ASCENT

350

[BOOK

TTT.]

would be great ignorance let us esteem those the most by which our devotion is most quickened. Thus

for this

;

God, for the greater purification of this formal devotion, when He grants graces, and works miracles, does so, in general,

not very

images

through

well

made, nor

artistically painted or adorned, so that the faithful

work of the

attribute nothing to the

And

artist.

may very

Lord grants his graces by means of images in remote and solitary places. In remote places, that the often our

pilgrimage to them it

the

retire

more

may stir up

our devotion, and

In solitary places, that

intense.

make

we may

from the noise and concourse of men to pray in

solitude, like our

He, therefore, who goes do well to do so when others do

Lord himself.

on a pilgrimage, will not, even at an unusual time. a pilgrimage, I would

men

When many

people

make

advise staying at home, for in

more dissipated than they were before. And many become pilgrims for recreation more than for devotion. If faith and devotion be wanting, the general,

return

What a perfect living image image will not suffice. was our Saviour upon earth and yet those who had no ;

faith, though they were constantly about Him and saw His wonderful works, were not benefited by His presence.

This is the reason

so

did no miracles in His

we are told in the Gospel why He own country.*

wish to mention here certain supernatural effects of some images occasionally on particular persons. God 3.

I

attaches a special influence to certain images, so that the

form of them, and the

devotion they excite, remain

impressed on the mind of the beholder as *

St.

Matt.

xiii.

58

;

St.

Luke

iv.

24.

if

they were


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. xxxv.J still

present before his eyes.

And

351

again,

when they

are

by the memory, the same influence is exerted as the first time they were seen, sometimes more vividly,

recalled at

at others less so

;

other images even of more perfect

workmanship produce no such effects. 4. Many persons also have a devotion certain fashion

and not

to

others.

to

images of a

In some, this

is

nothing more than mere natural fancy or taste, just as we are pleased with one man's looks more than with another's.

and

their

have naturally a liking for them, imagination recalls them more vividly, though

They

will

not so beautiful in themselves as others, because they are naturally attracted to that particular form

and fashion.

Thus, some persons will suppose that the fancy they have for a certain image is devotion, while in reality it

perhaps nothing more than natural taste and

is

liking. 6.

At

other times,

at a particular

make just

image

signs, or speak.

spoken

of,

work of God,

it

are

happens that men, while gazing

will see

This,

many

it

move, change colour,

and the supernatural

times real and good

effects

effects,

the

either to increase devotion, or to support a

soul in its weakness, or to prevent frequent distractions but at other times they are not true, being the work of the evil spirit to deceive and ruin souls. I shall there ;

fore explain the

whole matter in the next chapter.


THE ASCENT

652

[BOOK

III.]

CHAPTER XXXVI. How

the joy of the will in sacred images

is

to

be referred to God,

so that there shall be no hindrance in

it,

or occasions of

error.

As images mind

of

devotion,

ought

;

are very profitable, in that they put us in

God and His saints, and move the will to when we use them in the ordinary way, as we

so also are they occasions of great delusions

if,

when they are the subjects of supernatural effects, we know not how to conduct ourselves as we ought to do in our progress onwards towards God. One of the means by which the devil makes an easy prey of incautious souls,

and hinders

their progress

spirituality, is the exhibition of

on the road of true strange

and unusual

images whether they be those material images which the Church has sanctioned, or things in connection with

;

those fantastic images represented to the mind, of particular saints, or the

image

some

of himself transformed

into

an angel of

light,* in order to delude our souls.

The

devil, in his

cunning, hides himself within those

very means which are given us as a remedy and support, that he may seize upon us when we are least upon our guard.

Holy

souls will therefore be ever circumspect in

things that are good, for that which

own 2.

witness always with I

evil carries its

give therefore one direction, and that

is sufficient,

which in

this matter

for the avoidance of all those evils

may

is

it.

concern the soul, and for the purification of the joy

which the

will

may have *

in

images and

2 Cor.

xi.

14.

for the

guidance


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxxvi.]

353

by means of them to God, which of the Church in the use thereof. The evils of the soul

is

the object

to

which the

hindered by them in its in a mean flight upwards unto God, or that it uses them and ignorant way, or that it falls into delusions because soul

is

liable are either that

it is

Now

of them, matters of which I have spoken already. the direction I wish to give

is this,

seeing that images

are but motives to invisible things, that

by means of them,

we

should

strive,

and gladden the

to

move, affect, only in the living spirit which the image

figures.

will

Let

the faithful soul, therefore, take care that, while con

templating an image, the senses be not absorbed in it whether that image be material or in the imagination, of beautiful

workmanship

whether the devotion

it

or

of

rich

adornment,

and

excites be spiritual or sensible.

Let him not regard these outward accidents, nor dwell upon them, but venerate the image, as the Church commands, and lift up his mind at once from the material

image to these which it represents, with the sweetness and joy of the will resting on God, or on the sain invoked, devoutly, in mental prayer ; so that what to the living

and the

spiritual

painted and sensible object.

may not He who

is

due

be wasted on the shall

do this will

never be deluded, and the mind and senses will not be hindered from advancing onward with great freedom The image, too, which supernaturally unto God.

quickened devotion, will do so more abundantly when is lifted up unto God. For whenever

our heart at once

He

grants us these and other graces, He does so by inclining the affection and joy of the will to that which is invisible.

x

It is

His Word, therefore, that we should do


THE ASCENT

354

same

the

ourselves,

[BOOK

III.]

by annihilating the strength and

satisfaction of our faculties in all visible

and sensible

things.

CHAPTER XXXVII. Motive goods continued. I

THINK

may

fall

I

Oratories

and places of

have now explained how the

prayer.

spiritual

man

into as great imperfections, in the matter of

images, as in the matter of temporal and bodily goods I say, perhaps greater if he takes pleasure in them. ;

perhaps more dangerous, for in considering, and speak ing

these images as holy things,

of,

men make

too sure

of themselves, and cease to be afraid of attachment to

mere natural way. Thus they frequently deceive themselves very much, thinking themselves most

them

in a

devout because they

and

feel

a delight in these holy things may be nothing more than ;

after all, perhaps, this

natural taste and inclination, which it

might have been by anything

is

gratified here as

else.

The issue is I am going to speak about oratories that some people are never satisfied in adding image

2.

image in their oratory, taking pleasure in the order and neatness of their arrangements, to the end that their to

may be

oratory

God

is

well furnished and beautiful to the eye.

not their object in one arrangement more than in

another

perhaps

less so, for the delight

in these decorations is so

as I have just

now

said.* *

much It is

they experience

stolen from the reality,

very true that

Ch. xxxiv.

all

decora-


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP, xxxvn.]

355

embellishment, and reverence of images are exceed ingly little in comparison with that which they represent,

tion,

and therefore those who treat them with no great decency and reverence are deserving of all blame, as well as

who

those

them

so

clumsily that they rather than kindle devotion such persons should not quench be allowed to paint because of their gross unskilfulness paint

;

But what has that

to do with the attachment

and desire

with which you cling to these decorations and exterior ornaments, seeing that they so engross your senses and make heavy your heart, that you cannot draw near unto

God, and love Him, and forget love

all

these matters for His

you are deficient in this through carefulness about outward things, not only will He not be pleased If

?

with you, but He will punish you also, because you have sought not His pleasure, but your own, in all things.

You may rejoicing when 3.

see

this

truth

most clearly

in

that

our Lord entered into Jerusalem. The people sung hymns of joy and strewed branches in the way, but He was weeping,* for the hearts of some oi while they received Him with outward show of honour. ' This people honoureth Me

them were

far

with their

lips,

from

Him

but their heart

is

from Me.'f

far

We

say of them, that they did that in honour of them selves rather than of God. It is the same with many at

may

this day, for in great solemnities

more

men

in the recreation they furnish,

are

wont

to rejoice

whether in seeing or

being seen, in the banquet or for any other reason, than in rendering true service unto God. 4.

Such *

St.

inclinations

Matt- xxi. 9

;

St.

and intentions are not pleasing

Luke

xix. 41.

t

St.

Matt. xv.

8.


THE ASCENT

356

[BOOK

III.]

do they please Him who, when they are making preparations for a great solemnity, invent ridiculous and undevout actions to create laughter

Much

unto God.

men may be

the spectators, that

among tracted

less

;

the more dis

and who make such arrangements as

shall

please the multitude instead of such as shall quicken

devotion

What

among them.

shall I say of those

celebrate great feasts for ends not belonging to

who make them serve who are more intent on

who

them

of those

their private interests

those

their personal

therein than on the service of

and God also

Who

sees

it

Himself.

God

and yet

He

He

do to please done for

feasts with solemnity,

He was

with the

many thousands

of them,

angry with them as

is

children of Israel, for

it

will not account as

many keep His

Yea,

This they know, whichever way the

What men

themselves and not for God.

themselves or others

?

in

of

advantage

them remember, they keep

feast is thus observed, let for

;

God

and

?

?

slew

when they sung and danced

before the golden

calf,

thinking they were observing a feast in honour of God :* or as He was with Nadab and Abiu, the sons of Aaron,

whom He

slew with the censers in their hands, because

they offered strange

fire

upon His

altar ;f or as with

him who came

to the wedding feast without the wedding and whom He commanded to be cast, bound garment, hand and foot, into the exterior darkness/ + '

5.

This shows us

how

intolerable to

God must be

these

irreverences in those assemblies which are held in His

honour.

O

Lord,

the children of *

Exod.

my

men

xxxii. 19, 28.

in

God, how many feasts are kept by which the devil is more honoured

t Levit.

x. I, 2.

J

St.

Matt.

xxii. 11-13.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

CHAP. XXXVII. J

I

than Thou

357

Satan rejoices in these assemblies, for he How often profits by them like a merchant in a fair. them This to honoureth Me hast Thou to say people ?

'

:

with their

lips,

they serve

Me

of

God

is

that

but their heart in vain

He

is

?

The

is

far

chief

what He

is.

from Me,' * because

ground for the service Other and lower con

siderations ought not to enter into the question. I return to the subject of oratories.

Some

people adorn them more for their own pleasure than for God's some treat them with so little respect, that they make 6.

;

no more of them than of

some not is

their ordinary

rooms

;

and

more pleasure in what divine. But let me now

so much, for they have

profane than in what

is

who proceed in a more who consider themselves

leave this, and speak of those

cunning way, that devout.

Many

is,

of those

of these take such keen delight in their

adorning of them, that they waste in such occupations all the time which they ought to have spent in prayer and interior recollection. They do not see that by not disposing themselves for interior oratories

and

tranquillity of mind, they are as much such occupations as by any other worldly by

recollection

distracted

in the

and

occupation, and that they are every

moment

by such attachment, especially if separate them from their oratories.

be attempted to

T

Ib. xv.

it

troubled


THE ASCENT

358

[BOOK

IH.]

CHAPTER XXXVIII. The

right use of churches

to

As

to

through lawful,

and

How

oratories.

the soul

is

be directed through them unto God.

the guidance this

and

of the

onwards

soul

God

to

kind of goods, I may observe that it is even expedient, for beginners to feel a

sensible pleasure in images, oratories,

and other

visible

objects of devotion, because they are not yet entirely

weaned from the world,

so as to be able to leave the

wholly for the former. They are like children to whom, when we want to take anything from them which they hold in one hand, we give something to hold in the latter

not cry, having both hands empty. The spiritual man, if he is to advance, must deny himself in all those tastes and desires in which the will has other, that they

may

pleasure, for true spirituality has but slight connection

with any of these things, inasmuch as it consists solely in interior recollection and mental converse with God.

For though the

spiritual

man makes

use of images and

it is only as it were in passing, and the once rests in God, forgetting all sensible objects.

oratories, yet

mind

at

And though

it

is

better to pray

greatest neatness, nevertheless

we

where there

is

the

should choose that

place where the senses are least likely to be entertained, and the mind most likely to ascend upwards unto God.

On

we must listen to the answer of our woman of Samaria. She asked Him which

this subject

Lord

to the

was the true place of prayer, the mountain or the temple. He replied that true prayer was not tied to the mountain


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XXXVIH.] but that those

who prayed

who were cometh, and now

in spirit

and

were

in truth

The hour pleasing to His Father. is, when the true adorers shall adore '

they

For the Father also

the Father in spirit and in truth.

seeketh such to adore Him. that adore

359

Him must

God

adore

is

Him

a

and they spirit and in

spirit,

in

truth.' * 2.

And though

churches and

quiet places are set

aside and prepared for prayer

a church ought to be nevertheless, in this matter

used for no other purpose

of intimate intercourse with God, that place ought to be chosen which least occupies and allures the senses. It must, therefore, not be a place agreeable and delightful to sense, such as

to

serving

and

recreation

well to

make

some people search

recollection of mind, satisfactions of sense.

for, lest

minister

it

For

the

to

this end,

it is

choice of a solitary and even wild spot, so

mind may ascend firmly and

that the

instead of

directly to

God,

without hindrance or detention on the part of visible Visible things sometimes,

things.

raise the soul, but

and the

it is

spirit rests in

when they For

God.

it

is

true, help to

are instantly forgotten, this reason our

Saviour

pray in solitary places, where there were no attractions for the senses herein giving us an

commonly chose

to

example

but which tended to

such

mountains,

as

lift

up the soul

which are elevated

to

God, spots, and

generally barren, furnishing no resources for sensible recreation. 3.

He, therefore, who

is

truly spiritual looks only to

interior recollection in oblivion of all things, *

St.

John

iv. 23, 24.

and

for that


THE ASCENT

360

[BOOK

III.]

end chooses a place that is most free from all sensible sweetness and attractions, withdrawing his thoughts from all that surrounds him, so that in the absence of created things, he

wonderful

may

how some

oratories,

for prayer pleasing

to

little

their

and tastes

alone.

It is

providing

and

places

inclinations,

or nothing of interior recollection, If they attended

really important matter.

to this, these arrangements of theirs to

God

spiritual persons are wholly intent

on arranging their

and making which is the

in

rejoice

would have been

them not pleasure but mere weariness.

CHAPTER XXXIX. Continuation of the same subject

THE

reason, then,

why some

spiritual persons are never

able to enter into the true joys of the

spirit, is,

that they

never wholly cease to rejoice in outward and visible Let such reflect that if a visible church and things. oratory be a fitting and appropriate place for prayer, and images motives thereunto, they must not so use

them as

to have all their sweetness and joy in them, and so forget to pray in the living temple, which is the

interior recollection of the soul.

St. Paul, to

remind us

Know you not that you are the temple of and that the God, Spirit of God dwelleth in you?'* and our Lord Lo, the kingdom of God is within you f

of this, says

'

:

'

'

:

to the

same

that adore *

;

Cor.

iii.

effect

tend the words already cited adore Him in spirit and in

Him must 16.

+

St.

Luke

xvii.

2\.

St.

John

:

'They

truth.' + iv. 24.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XL.]

God

361

make no account

of your oratories, and the have so well places you prepared, if you attend more to the pleasure which they furnish than you do to Interior will

detachment, which

denying yourself in

sists in

You

2.

poverty, and which con

is spiritual

must, therefore,

if

that

you may possess. you would purge the will for it, and direct that joy

all

from joy, and the vain desire to God in your prayers, look only to this, that your conscience be pure, your will wholly with God, and your mind earnestly fixed upon Him and that you choose a ;

most solitary and unfrequented possible, and there apply the whole joy and satisfaction of your will to the calling upon God and glorifying His place for your prayers, the

As

name.

ward

them

things, regard

self in

and

to the trifling joys

them.

For

if

satisfactions of out

not, but labour to

sweetness of sensible devotion,

it

will never

power of spiritual joy which

is

to

the

deny your

the soul becomes habituated to the

advance to

be found in

spiritual

detachment by means of interior recollection.

Of some

evils to

which

CHAPTER

XL.

men

who

are liable

indulge in the sensible

sweetness which results from objects and places of devotion.

THE walk

spiritual

in the

man

way

is

subject to

many

of sensible sweetness.

interior as well as exterior.

As

to

evils, if

These

the

first

he will

evils are :

he

will

never attain to that interior recollection which consists in overlooking will

and forgetting

he acquire substantial

virtue.

all

sensible sweetness, nor

self-recollection,

and

solid


THE ASCENT

362

As

to the second,

he

[BOOK

III.]

unfits himself for

praying in all places alike, and he can pray only in those which are to his taste. Thus he will frequently neglect his prayers, 2.

because, as they say, he can pray only out of his book. 3.

Besides, this affection for particular places

source of

inconsistencies

many

;

for those

who

is

own the

indulge

it

never continue in the same place, nor even in the same

one time here, at another there to-day in one cell, to-morrow in another they make arrange ments for one oratory to-day, and the next for another. state of life

at

;

;

;

Of such people their state

are those

whose

and manner of

life is

living.

spent in changing

As

these people are

by that fervour and sensible sweetness in spiritual things, and as they never do

influenced solely

which they find

violence to themselves so as to recollected

by

endurance of inconveniences place which seems to or a state of

become

spiritually self-

the denial of their will and

life

them

;

so

by voluntary

whenever they see a

better adapted for devotion,

better suited to their tastes

and inclina

they run after it at once, and abandon that wherein they were before. Being thus under the tions,

dominion of sensible sweetness, they are eager search after novelty

;

in the

for sensible sweetness is uncertain

and rapidly passes away.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XLI.J

CHAPTER Of the

363

XLI.

three kinds of devotional places.

How

the will

is

to

regulate itself in the matter.

THERE God

is

by means of whicn The first is a

are three kinds of places

wont

certain

move

to

disposition

the will to devotion.

ground and the

of the

situation,

which because of the agreeable variety of views, the arrangement of the grounds, or of the trees, or because of its quiet loneliness, which naturally tend to quicken devotion.

It is profitable to

make

use of

this,

provided

the will ascends upwards to God, and the circumstances

For

of place be at once forgotten.

end

we must

in order to secure the

not dwell on the means, nor on the motives,

longer than necessary. If we set about to refresh our senses, and seek for sensible sweetness, what we shall

dryness and distractions; for spiritual satisfaction and sweetness are to be found only find will

be spiritual

in interior recollection.

a place,

we

Therefore,

should forget

it,

when we

and

strive

are in such

to

converse

inwardly with God, as if we were not there. If we give way to the sweetness of the spot, searching for it in every said before,* a seeking after

way, that will be, as

I

sensible refreshment,

and

than spiritual

rest.

and other holy

instability of purpose, rather

This was the

solitaries,

who

way

of the hermits,

in the widest

and most

pleasing deserts chose the smallest spot that would do,

making

cells

and caves

themselves up in them.

and shutting In such an one remained St. for themselves,

Benedict for three years, and another bound himself with *

Cb.

xl.

3.


THE ASCENT

364 a rope,

Many

[BOOK

he might not step beyond its length. numerous to mention, have im

that

others also, too

posed similar restraints upon themselves.

men

HI.

knew

Those holy

they did not mortify the desire and longing for spiritual sweetness they never would be able to attain to it, and become spiritual themselves. well

that

if

The second kind

something special, for there are some places, no matter whether desert or not, where God is wont to bestow spiritual graces of exceeding sweet 2.

ness on

is

some persons

the hearts of those

in particular, so that in general

who have

attracted to that place,

received such graces are

and they

feel at

times a great

to return though when they do, found there before for it is find what do not they they not in their power. God bestows these graces when,

and anxious desire

;

;

how, and where place, neither 3.

is

He wills He is not tied to He subject to any man's will. ;

Nevertheless

it

is

time or

well to return to such a place,

provided all attachment to it be wanting, and to pray there sometimes. There are three reasons for this. First, it

appears that God, though not bound to place, wills that He should be glorified there by that soul to which He

gave that grace. The second, by going there the soul is the more reminded of its duty of thanksgiving for the graces there received.

The

third

men ought

they think that

remembrance

to revisit such places,

reasons

and not because

God has

obliged Himself to bestow His such a way as not to bestow them else

graces there in where for in the eyes of ;

that

It is for these

of past graces quickens devotion. that

is,

God

the

becoming place than any earthly

human

spot.

soul

is

a more


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XLL] 4.

We

365

Abraham

read in the Holy Scriptures, that

an altar in the place where God appeared to him, and there called upon His name, and that he visited the place again on his return from Egypt, and called upon built

God again

Jacob also consecrated the place where he saw for he * took the

before.'* '

had made

there at 'the altar which he

the Lord leaning upon the ladder

'

;

stone which he had laid under his head, and set for a title,

pouring

oil

upon the top of

gave a name

in reverence,

hinder parts of 5.

The

Him

Agar,

it.'f

up too,

where the Angel Verily here have I seen the

to the place

'

appeared to her, saying,

it

that seeth me.'*

which God

third kind are certain special places

men may there call upon Him and serve Such a place was Mount Sinai where He gave His law unto Moses. Such also was that place which

has chosen that

Him.

He showed

unto Abraham, where the patriarch was to

And He commanded He was to show

sacrifice his son.||

such too was Mount Horeb,

whither

our father Elias to go, and

where

Himself unto him.H

kind

also

Mount

is

Garganus which

St.

of the

service,

:

The most glorious Virgin by a snow in summer chose a site in Rome

angels.'**

miraculous sign for a church in her honour, which Joannes

was *

to build.ff

Gene*,

Exod.

Michael,

' I am the guardian of this saying an oratory here be dedicated to God in honour

own

place, let

this

marked out

appearing there to the bishop of Siponto, for his

Of

xii.

xxiv.

**

tt

8

;

xiii.

God knoweth why He chose 4.

12.

Ib.

f Ib. [|

Brev. in

Patricius

Rom.

in

xxviii.

Genes, P'est.

13,

xxii.

App.

S.

Genes,

18,

2.

^J

Mich.

Fest S. Mariae ad Nives.

these

xvi.

3 Kings xix.

lect.

6.

13. 3.


THE ASCENT

366

All

places for Himself.

He

our good, and that

[BOOK

we need know

will

is

that all

is

III.]

for

hear our prayers there, and

wherever else we pray in perfect far greater reason

why we

places, dedicated to

His

faith.

Though

there

is

should be heard in these

service,

because the Church has

consecrated them for that special end.

CHAPTER Of

XLII.

other motives to prayer adopted by

many; namely, many

ceremonies.

THE in

useless joys

and the imperfection of attachment,

which many persons indulge

in

the things I

am

speaking of, are perhaps in some degree excusable, because they are indulged in somewhat innocently. But the great reliance which some have on a variety of ceremonies invented by persons of unenlightened minds, deficient in the simplicity of faith, is not to be borne, putting aside for the present, those ceremonies which

comprise certain strange names or words signifying nothing, and other matters, not of a sacred character,

which an ignorant, rude, and suspicious people inter mingle with their prayers. These are clearly evil and a

many of them is a secret compact with Satan, whereby men provoke God to anger and not to mercy. I do not mean to speak of these, but only of those sin

;

in

ceremonies, which being not of this suspicious class,

many

persons nowadays adopt in their prayers through an indiscreet devotion, and attribute such efficacy, to

them, and have such faith in them, that they imagine


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XLII.] their prayers

and devotions without these forms are use

and unheard by God,

less,

singularities,

or

if

they

these

overstep

they have in earnest prayer and insult offered unto God.

be said with so

many

any one of these

fail in

arbitrary limitations.

They have much more confidence

by such a

367

which

in these forms than

a great dishonour For instance a Mass must

;

is

candles, neither

more nor fewer

* ;

such an hour, neither earlier nor

priest, at

on such a day, neither before nor after, the prayers must be offered up, or visits made to a church, so often, later

;

in such a

way, at such a time, with such ceremonies or

gestures, neither earlier nor later, nor in

and the person who is to undertake this and such qualities. They believe that these ceremonies be neglected all is

any other way, must have such if

to

any one of no purpose.

There are a thousand other absurdities of the same kind. 2.

What

is still

some people

will

worse, and not to be borne,

have

that they

it

of this, or that they have obtained or that they

know they

have

felt

that

is,

the effects

what they asked

shall obtain

it

when

all

for,

these

ceremonious practices have been duly observed. This nothing less than to tempt God, and grievously

provoke

Him

to wrath, so

much

is

so that occasionally the

permitted to deceive such people, and to them feel or see things utterly at variance with the

evil spirit is

make

welfare of

t.heir soul.

They bring

this

upon themselves

by the self-love which they manifest in their prayers,

and by

their desire to

the will of God.

*

Concil Trident Sess.

their

fulfil

own

will rather

than

Such persons, because they do not

xxii.

part

c.

9,

Decret de Observandis, &c.


THE ASCENT

368

[BOOK

place their whole trust in God, will never

come

to

HI.j

any

good.

CHAPTER How

XLIII.

the joy and strength of tne will

is

to

be directed to God

in

these devotions.

LET such people then know on their ceremonies the less

that the

more they

rely

their confidence in God,

is

and that they will never obtain their desires. There are some people who labour more for their own ends than for the glory of God.

Though they know

grant their prayer if

it

will not, if

the

be not

it

be

for

still,

;

His

service,

God

and that

will

He

because of their self-love and

empty joy which they have

in

it,

they will multiply

Now

beyond measure.

their prayers

that

if

they were to

attend to something else of more importance, they would

do better their

they set about the purification of conscience, and applied themselves to the

affair of their

have not

if

namely,

:

own

own

salvation, omitting all prayers

which

this for their end.

they will obtain that which concerns them most, and they will obtain beside all else, though 2.

If they

do

this,

they did not pray for it, in a better and readier way than if they had directed all their energies to it. have for this the promise of our Lord Himself, Who

We

tells us,

and His

'

seek ye, therefore,

justice,

unto you.'*

and

all

S.

the

kingdom

of

God

these things shall be added

Such seeking *

first

is

Matt

most pleasing unto God vi.

33.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XLIII.J

and there

is

369

no better way to obtain the desires of our might for that which is

aeart than to pray with all our

most pleasing unto Him for then He will grant us, not only what we pray for, namely, our eternal salvation, but all that He sees to be expedient and profitable for us, ;

though we ask it not, according to the words of the Psalmist, The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon '

Him,

to all that call

upon Him

truth

in

Him

upon

who pray

in truth.' *

for that

They

which

is

call

most

namely, their salvation, as the Psalmist adds, in the same place, He will do the will of them that fear

true,

'

Him, and He will hear their prayer and save them. The Lord keepeth all them that love Him.' To be 'nigh' unto

men

is

to satisfy them,

and

to give

entered even into their thoughts to ask 3.

We

have an

illustration of this

them what never for.

in the history of

He

asked of God wisdom to govern the a prayer that was acceptable unto Him and

Solomon.

people the answer of

God was

pleased thy heart,

' :

Because

this

choice hath

and thou hast not asked riches and

wealth and glory, nor the lives of them that hate thee, nor many days of life; but hast asked wisdom and

knowledge to be able to judge My people, over which I have made thee king: wisdom and knowledge are granted to thee and I will give thee riches and wealth ;

none of the kings before thee, nor God kept His promise, and made his enemies live in peace, and pay him tribute.

and

glory, so that

after thee, shall

be

like thee.'f

We have the same lesson also in the book of Genesis, when God promised Abraham in answer to his prayer to * Ps. cxliv.

T

18,

19, 20.

t 2

Paral.

i.

II,

12.


THE ASCENT

370

[BOOK

III.]

multiply the posterity of his lawful son as the stars of

He

heaven,

said

bondwoman

' :

I will

make

son

the

a great nation, because he

is

of the

also

thy seed.'*

4. The powers of the will, therefore, and the joy it has in prayers, are to be thus referred to God without leaning upon ceremonies and private observances which :

the Catholic Church neither adopts nor sanctions

must resign

;

we

Mass, he

to the priest the celebration of

stands in her place, and has received from her the order of

celebration.

its

tions, as if

Church.

they

may

for their

Holy Ghost and the when they pray in this God will not hear the

not heard

them be sure of

own

new inven

inventions,

however numerous they

be.

As

5.

not seek out

knew more than

If they are

simplicity, let

them

Men must

man

and other devotions, let no on ceremonies and forms of prayer other than

to vocal prayer

rely

those which Christ and His Church have taught us. is *

quite clear that,

Teach us

in order to

His

when His

to pray,' t

He

disciples said unto

them

told

all

It

Him,

they were to do

be heard of the eternal Father.

He knew

He

then taught them only the seven petitions Pater Noster, which include all our wants,

will.

of the

and temporal. He did not teach them many, and other forms of words and ceremonies. He had spiritual

before told

them not

prayed, saying,

much you/ J

.

many words when

use

'When you

are praying,

they

speak not

your Father knoweth what is needful for Only He charged them with great earnestness to .

.

for

persevere in prayer *

to

Genes, xxi. 13.

that

is,

t S. Luke

the Pater Noster xi.

I.

t

S.

Matt. vL

saying, 7,

S.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XLIII.]

371

He

'that \\e ought always to pray, and not to faint.'*

did not teach us a variety of prayers, but to repeat often,

with care and fervour, these petitions the whole

will of

God and

all

when He turned

Himself,

for they contain

our wants also.

He

Thus

to the eternal Father,

made

His prayer the three times in the self-same words of the Pater Noster, saying, as the Evangelists tell us, ' My be possible,

if it

Father,

nevertheless, not

that

Father,

is,

as

if I

I

will,

but

must drink

as

Me

pass from

let this chalice

Thou

this chalice,

;

wilt;'f

Thy

will

be done. 6.

The

rites

and ceremonies which

He

taught us to

observe in our prayers are reduced to one of two either to retire into our chamber, where, away from the tumult ;

and presence of men, we may pray with most pure and

When

thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father '

perfect heart

'

in secret

as

He

;

withdraw into the lonely wilderness, the better and more tranquil hours of

+ or to

did, in

the night. 7.

There

is

thus no necessity for determined seasons,

nor for appointed days, nor for strange methods, nor for words of double meanings, nor for other prayers than those which the Church employs, and in the sense in which she employs them; for all prayers are compre

hended in the Pater Noster.

I

am

not,

ing, but rather approving, those fixed

condemn days which some

by

this,

persons occasionally set apart for their devotions, such as novenas, and the like what I condemn is the reliance ;

which men have on the ceremonies and self-devised *

St.

Luke

Y2

xviiL

i.

t

St.

Matth. xxvi. 39.

J

St.

Matth.

vi.

6.


THE ASCENT

372

[BOOK

III.]

observances with which they keep them. This is what Judith also did when she rebuked the people of Bethulia,

because they had fixed a time within which God was to Slave mercy upon them. 'Who are ye,' said the pro '

phetess,

that tempt the Lord

This

?

is

not a word that

may draw down mercy, but rather that wrath and enkindle indignation.' *

CHAPTER Of

may

stir

up

XLIV.

the second kind of distinct goods in which the will vainly rejoices.

THE

second kind of distinct sweet goods in which the

will vainly rejoices, is that

us to serve God.

This

I

which provokes or persuades have called provocative. In

goods are preachers who may be considered two points of view one, concerning themselves, the Both in preaching and in other, those who hear them. this class of

in

:

hearing, will 2.

all

require to be reminded that the joy of the

must be directed unto God.

As

to the preacher,

profit his hearers,

he must bear in mind

and not

to

if

he

is to

be puffed up with empty

joy and presumption that his function is more spiritual than vocal for though it depends on audible words, its :

power and efficacy is not in the words, but in the spirit which utters them. However high the doctrine he. preaches, however adorned his eloquence and sublime his style, the fruits of his

better than his

own

sermons will

spirit. *

Judith

For though viii.

II, 12.

in general it

be no

be true that


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XLIV.] the

word of God

He

373

effectual in itself, as

is

it is

written,

His voice the voice of power,'* yet fire, which has the power of burning, will not burn without *

will give to

fuel.

ching depends for its effects on two proper one on the part of the preacher, the other on the part of the hearer but in general the fruitfulness Pro.

3.

conditions

:

:

of preaching

is

according to the dispositions of the

Hence the proverb, Such the master, such

preacher.

the disciple.

When

the seven sons of Sceva, a chief

priest of the Jews, attempted to cast out devils like St.

Paul, the evil spirit turned upon '

them

Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but

in a fury, saying,

who

are you

?f

drove them out of the house naked and wounded. befel

them because of

their

and This

improper dispositions, and

not because Christ would not that they should not cast out devils for when the apostles saw one who was not ;

a disciple casting out devils in the

him

:

for

name

of Christ, and

He

rebuked them, saying, 'Do not forbid there is no man that doth a miracle in My

forbade him,

name, and can soon speak ill of Me.'+ But He is angry with those who teach His law and keep it not, and who not being spiritual themselves, preach spirituality to ' others. Thou, therefore,' saith He by the mouth of the Apostle, 'that teachest another, teachest not thyself; thou that teachest that men should not steal, stealest.'

and by the mouth of the Psalmist the Holy Ghost, the sinner justice,

God hath

and take *

J

My

said,

Mark

To

My

covenant in thy mouth, seeing thon

Ps. Ixvii. 34. St.

Why

dost thou declare

'

ix. 38.

t Acts xix. Rom. ii.

15.

21.


THE ASCENT

374

hast hated discipline and cast

Here we learn that God that will bring forth 4. It is

[BOOK

words behind thee

My

will not give to

good

life

them the

?'*

spirit

fruit.

generally observed, so far as

the better the

HI.]

we can

judge, that

of the preacher, the greater the

fruit,

may be homely, his eloquence scanty, though and his teaching common, for warmth proceeds from the living spirit within. Another kind of preacher will his style

fine style

good

and

style

his learning.

and

notwithstanding his For though it is true that a

fruit at all,

produce scarcely any

action, profound learning,

expression have a greater effect true spirituality still when that ;

and correct

when they accompany is

wanting, though the

senses be charmed, and the understanding delighted,

but

little

In general the will works,

good

warmth reaches remains dull, and weak

or no substantial

though

marvellous

things

to the will.

as before in

have been

marvellously told it, but which serve only to please the But ear, like a concert of music or the sound of bells. the spirit does not go beyond

its

limits,

and the voice

has no power to raise the dead from the grave. It matters very little if the music I hear is better than another, act

?

if it

move me more than

does not

Though men may be wonderful

their sermons are soon forgotten,

if

the other to

preachers, yet

they kindled no

fire

in the will. 5.

This sensible

almost

fruitless,

delectation in sermons

not only but also keeps back the hearer from is

for he goes no deeper into the matter lhan the outward circumstances of the sermon, and

true spirituality

;

*

Ts. xlix. 16, 17.


OF MOUNT CARMEL.

[CHAP. XLIV.] the

praises

preacher

him

and that

this

for

375 peculiarity,

such reasons rather than for any running edification he derives from him. St. Paul sets this after

for

before us very clearly, saying

came

I

to you,

came

' :

And

I,

brethren,

when

not in loftiness of speech or of

wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of Christ my speech and my preaching was not in the per suasive words of human wisdom, but in showing of the .

.

.

Spirit 6.

and of power.'*

It

was not the

intention of the Apostle, neither

is it

mine, to find fault with a good style, correct diction, and eloquence. These things are valuable to a preacher, as

they are in elevates

all

kinds of

affairs

and restores what

other hand, a poor style

which

is

:

for as

low and mean, so, on the debases and ruins even that is

noble. I

a noble expression

Cor.

ii.

I, 4.

THE END



377

INDEX OF PLACES IN HOLY SCRIPTURE.


378



30

INDEX OF PLACES


HOLY SCR1PTUR

IN 24.

The wind

25. 10.

Keep thy foot, 30. The sword reacheth

23.

I

to

the soul, 161. beheld the earth, 17. looked for peace,

JONAS. Yet

4.

We

forty days, 167. Is not this what I said,

2.

xxij

171.

Made

a derision, 171. 21. I did not send prophets, 7.

heart,

252.

161. XX.

her

to

Speak

14.

30.

15.

381

OSEAS.

of his love,

Their right hand and

II.

their left, 38.

336. 28.

29.

MICILBA&

do with the

Chaff to wheat, 235.

My

The

3.

words as

a

evil of their

hand.

328.

fire,

23532. xlv.

HABACUC.

I sent them not, 336. Weakness of Banuch,

1.

xlix.

1 6.

hath arrogancy deceived thee, 329.

ST.

2 5 8. I.

7.

8.

Prophecy a snare,

IV.

8.

V.

3.

vi.

2.

171.

The gold become dim, 35Nazarites whiter than snow, 39. Blacker than coals, 39.

Knew

way of

98.

Turned not when they

vii.

3.

6.

What is needful

6.

Israel, 41. Mourning for

With

their

of

him, 9.

14.

22.

Adonis,

backs

to

miracles in

Thy

33320.

Hath not where

xi.

28.

Come

.

.

all

to lay

ye that

labour, 33.

thee, 230.

My

yoke

is

xii.

30.

He

xiii.

22.

Sown amid

58.

He

to teach

Abomination of desola tion, 306.

Done

vm.

30.

27.

narrow the gate,

His head, 91.

the prophets shall

DANIEL. am come

How

name, 192, 333. 23. Depart from Me, 192,

181.

22. I

for you,

7. Speak not much, 370, 37124. Serve two masters, 243. Seek first the kingdom 33. of God, 368. 6. Give not . . holy to

err, 181.

ix.

hand,

86.

the temple, 41. 8. Will set thy face against

When

left

dogs, 28.

Idols of the house

41. 1

their reward,

325, 326. Let not thy

went, 283.

14.

330.

They have

326.

EZEKIEL. 8.

MATTHEW.

370.

not the

wisdom,

8.

watch,

All the kingdoms of the world, 201. Blessed are the poor in spirit,

BARUCH. 23.

my

Thy

LAMENTATIONS. 20. My soul shall languish, 47.

Stand upon 274.

214.

sweet, 90.

that gathereth not with Me, 49. thorns, 286.

wrought not many

miracles, 350.


38a


HOLY SCRIPTURE.

IN v.

23

When

24.

In

34.

My

48.

See signs and wonders,

39.

For

the true adorers,

359spirit

and

Reprobate sense,

ii.

21.

Thou

83.

am

I

judgment

17.

come, 75. x.

9.

am

I

the door, 91.

3.

xi.

50.

It

is expedient should die, 163.

one

zii.

16.

They remembered

these

25.

Who

I.

I

things, 163. killeth

his

own

6.

21.

I

am

2.

the way, 91. loveth

He who He

will teach

xvi.

xix.

.

7.

30. 2.

1

you

all

lo.

68.

go not away, 107. It is consummated, 186. If I

came

If thou hast taken

17.

awa y, 339Touch Me not,

15.

Him

I.

16.

107.

19.

32. 22.

iii.

27.

kingdom

They may speak Thy Word, 338. Moses at the bush, 96.

vii.

46. xvii.

.xix.

things,

not

drink,

xii.

Purchased with money,

speak of the

You

are the temple of

Wisdom

of this world 18, 19. in

Lord

27.

one spirit, 245. Seek not a wife, 289.

29.

The time

is

short, 51,

290. 7.

The

8.

The word

lo.

Discerning

manifestation the Spirit, 332.

of

spirits,

210, 331.

Word

I.

of God, 93. 29. The Divinity like to gold or silver, 115. 15. Who are you ? 373.

10.

with

the speak tongues of men, 333

If

I

That which

is

perfect

11.

When

I

was a chili

ROMANS. 22.

Professing to be wise, 1 8.

is

come, 100. 147.

i.

of

of wisdom,

211.

The rulers not knowing Him, 162.

To

to

foolishness, 17. Joined to the

295xiii.

Milk

is

to Israel, 163.

vii.

all

God, 360.

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. 29.

man

spiritual

meat, 149.

vi.

ir.

man

spiritual 164.

judgeth

not seen, 339.

the

212.

judgeth,

Peace be unto you, 253. 29. Blessed they who have

Restore

searcheth

Spirit

212, 317.

15.

6.

The

The

19.

L

seen, 73, 96, 268, 310.

The

sepulchre, 339. xx.

crucified,

Eye hath not

14.

the

to

Him

all things,

The sepulchre empty, They

of

loftiness

191.

3393-

in

And

Me, 9.

things,

Not

speech, 374.

209.

26.

Faith cometh by hear ing, 69, 218, 339. Not to be more wise than, 228. Ordained of God, 143.

CORINTHIANS. 1.

soul, 89. xiv.

296. teachest

that

another, 373. 14. Led by the Spirit of God, 249. 24. Hope seen is not hope,

viii.

339-.

ix.

28.

in truth,

359, 36o. meat, 56.

383

i.

2

CORINTHIANS. 6.

The

letter killeth,

159


INDEX OF PLACES IN HOLY SCRIPTURE. iv.

17.

i.

319vi.

HEBREWS.

Eternal weight of glory,

10.

Having nothing,

14.

Light

299. darkness,

with

I.

xi.

of light, 108, 352. 2. In the body or out, 199. 4. Secret words, 206.

xii.

14.

Angel

9.

Virtue

made

I.

6.

8.

Though

or

we,

20.

14.

17.

The

19.

the

spirit,

317.

4.

5. I

I.

PETER. have the more firm

Spirit, 271.

not

third

part of

the

tt.e

Beast with seven heads,

7.

Make war

xvii.

3.

Full of

xviii.

7.

with

the

no. names of blas phemy, 305. So much torment ^nd saints,

Service of idols, 295.

Extinguish

The

109.

Fulness of the Godhead,

THESSALONIANS. 19.

We

stars, 305.

hid

185. iii.

ii

APOCALYPSE.

treasures, 185. 9.

73.

flesh lusteth against

COLOSSIANS. whom are 3. In

ii.

JAMES,

Faith without works dead, 281.

prophetical word, 142, 218.

Jews, 192. T.

99.

2 ST.

Run

in vain, 190. Gentiles to live as the

2.

that cometh to God must believe that He

an

angel, 186, 217. ii.

Substance of things to be hoped for, 83, 260.

ST. ii.

GALATIANS. L

by His

He

is,

perfect in

Infirmity, 52.

to us

Son, 184.

1 6.

xi.

Spoken

sorrow, 32, 300.


35

INDEX .ASCENT OF Aaron,

1

MOUNT CARMEL. Churches, right use of, 359. Cloud, the, in the wilderness, 70

88.

Abraham, revelation

to,

157.

Achab, repentance of, 167 deceived by his prophets, 1 80. Adonis, 41. Affections, dangers of, 48. ;

Altar, the, of the old law, 26.

Ambition, effects of, 30. Angels, punishment of the, 307. Apprehensions, of the understand ing, 102 ; must be rejected, 105 ; the soul must be spiritual, 195 detached from, 197 ; dangers of, 215, 261 ; disclosing of, to the confessor, necessary, 262 ; proper ;

use of, 274. on the bat, 98.

in the temple, 100. Confessors, unskilful,

;

5.

Contemplation, 97 ; prayer of, 128. Corruption and generation, 28. Concupiscence, mill of, 32, 33. Counsels, the evangelical, 22. in the of, Courage, necessity spiritual life, 4.

Creation, nothingness of, 17. Creatures, love of, 15 ; union with God hindered by, 16 ; wrong to

God by, 28; bring sorrow, 33 ; cannot be means of union with God, 95

detachment from, 298.

;

Aristotle

Attachment,

Dalila, deceit of, 32. Darkness, a necessary state of the

effects of, 47, 49.

Augustine, St., 21. Avarice, 294.

soul, 71-

God allows one, 26 union hindered by one, 42 ; effects in the soul of one, 52.

Desire,

Balaam, perverseness

of,

176,

192,

295, 333, 335, 336. Beast, the, 109. Beauty, natural, dangers of, 301 evils of joy in, 305.

;

Beginners, 145. Benedict, St., 364. Boasting, spiritual, 329. Bribes, 292. Boethins, observation of, 284.

Desires, resist the spirit, 29 ; tor ture the soul, 32 ; blind the soul, 34, 38 ; enkindle concupiscence, 35 ; hinder progress, 36 ; defile the soul, 38 ; weaken the soul, 44 ; destroy the love of God, 45 ; effects of the natural, 45 ; God

made angry

by, 50 ; fruits of, subdue the, 56. Directors, need of, 4 ; unskilful, 5. Detachment, night of the soul, 15 ; gives necessity of, 51, 77, 90 the soul rest, 59 ; all-important, 203, 298 ; blessings of, 299.

53

Caiphas, prophecy of, 163. Carmel, 8, 58. Ceremonies, vain, 366 ; humanly devised, 370. Chalice, the, offered to the two dis ciples, 89.

Charity, effect of, 84. Children, desire of, 288. Christians, the difference between,

nd Jews.

186,

;

;

how

to

;

Devotion, places of, 364. Dignities, dangers of, 93 hates

the

willing

229.

Dionysius, St., 98.

;

recipient

God of,


INDEX. duty of in the matter of mischief 141, 151 ;

Directors, .isions,

Honours, desire

of, 264. Humanity, the sacred, 248.

wrought by

unskilful, 152, 153 ; counsel to, 163 ; everything should be revealed to, 192 ; ad vantage of making supernatural visitations known to, 193 ; visions not to be discussed by, 194 ; obedience due to, 210 ; not all

men

fit

232; defectsof,

for,

j

Images, veneration of, 280 ; im proper use of, 345, 349 cautions direction for concerning, 352 ;

;

j

254-

Doors of the

Impressions, spiritual, 236 ; dangers of dwelling on, 261. of, Inconsistency, source 330; effects of, 354.

Elias, 96, 365. Eliseus, things distant seen by, 213.

Endor, witch

of,

A

338.

differs from night of, 67 knowledge, 69 ; the dark night of the soul, 69 ; and of the under83 ; sole means of standing, union, 140, 199 ; fore 99, shadowed in the pitchers of Gedeon, loo ; admits no new revelation, 218 ; cometh by hear ;

ing, 339-

Feasts, observance of, 356.

Forms,

not

supernatural,

to

be

dwelt on, 259.

Garganus, mount, 365. Gedeon, 188. Generosity, 298.

He

God, how

with those revelations, sible, 268.

who

;

324

;

effects

138

angry

;

seek visions and

172

Good, moral, 255 320 joy in, 323 in,

Him

communicates

self to the soul, 137,

>

;

incomprehen

;

advantage

of,

evil of rejoicing

of joy

294 ; natural, 303. Goods, spiritual kinds Goods, temporal, 290.

of,

290,

in,

342.

Gratia gratis data, 211, 331 right use of, 334 ; risks of, 335 joy in to be checked, 340. Gregory, St., the Great, 338. ;

;

Gustato spiritu desipit 146.

the right use of, 353. Imagination, the, 113; fed by the senses, 114. Imperfections, habitual, 47 ; super natural, 134.

soul, 308.

Faith,

of, 58, 93.

Humility, great worth

omnis

caro.,

Heli, the high priest, 168. Heretics, satanic delusions of, 226. Hermits, 363.

i

I

Jacob, the three

commandments

of,

the promise made to, 157. Jeroboam, the promise to, 169.

25

;

;

Jethro, advice of, to Moses, 191. Joannes Patricius, 365.

Jonas, affliction of, 171. sources of, 285 Joy, 284 ;

pression

of,

ishment

of,

necessary, 297

300

;

evil

; ;

sup

pun

results of

sensual, 314 ; advantages of selfdenial in, 316, 319. Josaphat, prayer of, 176. Judith, 178, 372. Just, the, soul of, 40, 41.

Knowledge, how obtained, 14, 68, 96, 144 ; natural and supernatural, 102

;

intellectual, .205

;

infused,

210.

Laban, 346. Learning, dangers

of, 93.

Leeches, types of desires, 44. Life, the supernatural, 78. Light, the soul in darkness finds, 75 > not an object of vision, 127 ; the divine, 130.

Loaves, lesson of the three, 84. how men are Locutions, 156 deceived by, 159 interior, 220 delusions, 223 ; a possible hind rance to union, 224 ; the under standing must not dwell on, 225 ; ;

;

three sources satanic,

228

stantial, 233.

;

of,

;

227

;

effects of

formal, 231

;

sub

/

O ^f


INDEX. Love, effects

of, 16, 21.

Lucifer, sin of, 327.

Lukewarmness, source

of,

293, 303,

Pride, spiritual, 263. Prophecies, the, ridiculed by the Jews, 1 60, 170 ; concerning our

Lord misunderstood,

3H. Magic, 337.

Manna,

387

the, 23.

Marriage, vanity to rejoice

Martyrdom, 165. Mary Magdalene,

St.,

in,

289.

107,

in,

339-

Memory,

the, discipline of, 242, 248, 277 ; evils resulting from the use of, 250 ; emptiness of,

necessary, 252, 254, 267. Meditations.daughters of Jerusalem,

215

;

diverse

modes

of,

216.

dangers of, 286 pointments of, 296.

Riches,

338.

Meditation, discontinuance of, 115 ; when the soul should cease from, effects of,

of,

how

1

Samuel rebukes Saul, 175 attained

to,

Nazarites, 39.

nature

of,

n;

detachment from all things, 14 ; the spiritual, 65 ; the active, 85. Oratories, decoration of, 354, 357 right use of, 358.

;

Passions, the, 282 ; effects of, 283. Paternoster, 370. Paul, St., consults St. Peter, 190 ; rapture of, 199. Perfect, the, memory of, 246. Perfection, hindrances of, 3. Perseverance, 328. Pharisee, the, 324. Philosophers, a saying of, 14, 16, 43, 94, 122, 256, 318. Pilgrimages, 350. Pleasure in supernatural things, effects of, 266.

Preachers, 372 ; eloquent, 374. Presence of God, 77, 80.

;

appear

ance of in Endor, 338. Satan, wiles of, 105 ; able to fore tell future events. 177; effect of visions caused by, 213 ; power of,

214; feigns locutions, 226; can not feign the substantial locutions,

52 ; necessity of, 37. Moses, advice of Jethro to, 191. 13,

;

348.

of,

20.

257. Miracles, 238. Mistakes of spiritual persons, 115. Mortification, the night of the soul,

Night, the dark, 10

disap

;

Ruben, 43. Rosaries, improper use

119, 131.

Melancholy, Michas, 346. Mind, peace

162.

Reason, disordered by sin, 9 ; the guide of the soul, 35. Recreation, 311. Revelations, not to be sought, in, 172, 184 ; nor admitted, 147 ; fulfilment of, 167; the seeking of unto displeasing God, 174 ; dangers of seeking, 176 ; lawful to ask for under the old law, 182; two kinds of, 204 ; dangers of,

234Self denial, 88, 308. Self-esteem, evil of, 318. Self-government, not safe, 187. Sense, night of, 10, 13, 55. Senses, instrument of knowledge, 68, 96 ; how God prepares them for spiritual uses, 144.

Sermons, hearing of, 374. Simon Magus, 295, 333, 337. Sleep, the spiritual, 129. Sloth, spiritual, 304. Solomon, cause of the fall of, 37 ; infused knowledge of, 21 1 ; on

287

riches, of,

;

gifts of,

331

;

prayer

309.

Soul, the, ravaged by the desires,

27 ; and defiled, 38 ; a perfect image of God, 39, 40 ; one will of, 50 faith, the dark night of, 69, must be as a blind man, 72 ; union habitual of, 76 ; com pared to a window, 80 injured by attending to visions, 107 ; how ;

;

God

trains,

146

;

operations of in


INDEX. union, 245 ; four passions of, 282 ; worldly joy sullies, 309. Spirit, the, night of, 66 ; what it is to extinguish the, 272. Spirituality, liable to certain dan gers, 104. evils Sweetness, sensible, 312 ;

attending, 361.

Teaching of the Holy Ghost, 222,

of,

effects of,

136;

243

;

effects

of the habitual, 232.

Vipers, 44. Virgins, the ten, 322. Virtues grow by practice, 54 > work of the three theological, 82. Vision of God, not equal for all, 8l. Visions, must be disregarded, 105, 108, 148 ; effects of diabolic, 106 consequences of not reject ing divine, 107, 140 ; blessedness of neglecting, 109, 138; are not the means of union, in, 138 : ;

224.

Temple,

the, defilement of, 41.

Tobias, the elder, 178. Tobias, the younger, n. Touch, the divine, 207

wrought, 209, 236. Transformation, 77 ;

how

how

;

135

satanic,

why

attending

wrought,

78, 79, 80.

result

181

198

;

;

135

;

evil effects of

150;

to,

of,

spiritual,

imaginary,

;

143

sent,

delusions,

two kinds of intellectual, more ;

clear than bodily, 200.

Understanding, the, cannot com prehend God, 97 ; must not dwell upon visions, 136, 142 ; the spiritual eye of the soul, 196. Union, the divine. 46 ; hindered by one desire, 47 ; voluntary explained, 76 ; not equal in 8 1 when 2 all, ; faith, wrought, the sole means of, 99 ^condition ;

;

Way,

the strait, 86.

"Why hast Thou forsaken

me?" 91. Will, the, dark night of the, 281. how Works, good, defective, 325. Words, the, of God hard to under stand, 170.

World,

the,

wisdom

of,

necessity of renouncing, 22.

Printed in Great Britain by Hazell, Watson London and Avlesbury.

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de la Cruz The ascent of Mount Carmel

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